State cannot compel minorities: Bench

The Constitution bench on Tuesday answered five questions referred to it by a division bench of the apex court for adjudication.

Dealing with the rights of minorities, the bench in its 67-page judgment held that the State has no power under Article 350A of the Constitution to compel the linguistic minorities to choose their mother tongue only as a medium of instruction in primary schools.

It also held that the government-recognised schools will not only include government-aided schools, but also unaided schools which have been granted recognition.

During the hearing, the Karnataka government defended its language policy saying that the basic knowledge can easily be acquired by a child through his mother tongue.

It contended that the State government had the power to lay down a policy prescribing that the medium of instruction for children studying in standards I to IV in all government recognised schools in Karnataka will be Kannada .

The State government also pleaded that under the Right to Education Act, guaranteed under Article 21A, the State government could frame its policy and it was not open for any citizen to invoke any other fundamental right to claim that he should be educated in a medium of instruction of his choice.

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