Karnataka: Mother tongue in unaided pvt schools: State's Kannada policy invalid: High Court

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Thu Jul 3 13:43:46 UTC 2008

 Mother tongue in unaided pvt schools State's Kannada policy invalid: HC

DH News Service, Bangalore:

In a landmark judgment, the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday quashed
a section of the government order dated April 24, 1994, that makes
mother tongue or regional language mandatory as the medium of
instruction, for primary unaided private schools. However, it has
upheld the government policy to have mother tongue as the medium of
instruction in aided and government-run schools. Hearing a petition by
the Karnataka Uniaded Schools Managements Associations and M R
Srikanth, who have challenged the government order, the full bench
comprising Chief Justice Cyraic Joseph, Justice Manjula Chellur and
Justice N Kumar declared that the government policy compelling
children in unaided schools to have education only in mother tongue or
regional language as violation of Article 19(1) (g), 26 and 20(1) of
the Constitution.

With this, nearly 3,000 unaided private school managements that had
been de-recognised by the State Government, can now heave a sigh of
relief. But the Minister for Primary and Secondary Education
Visveshwara Hegde Khageri said the government will take the decision
on restoring the recognition only after studying the High Court order.
Further, the court in its 312-page judgment said: "Right to freedom of
speech and expression includes the right to choose a medium of
instruction and the State Government decision to impose a medium of
instruction is a violative of it."

The court said the government had power to formulate a language policy
and implement it, but it should not offend the fundamental rights of
The court said the government policy to introduce Kannada as the first
language for children whose mother tongue is the same, is valid. Even
the policy to teach Kannada, the official language of the State as one
of the subjects is also valid. The HC observed that policy to have
primary education in Mother tongue or regional language could be
implementated in all government  and government aided school. There is
no compulsion for any child to get admitted to such schools.

The Court has said that government cannot compel to have primary
education in mother tongue or regional language, it also cannot
prevent a child from having education in a medium of instruction of
his choice. "It  becomes unreasonable restriction on the exercise of
fundamental rights." Ruling that all minorities, religious or
linguistics have a right to establish and administer institution of
their choice under article 30(1) of the Constitution, the Court said
that imparting education is an occupation and therefore the right to
carry on any occupation includes the right to establish and administer
an educational institution of one's choice.

"The state can formulate regulation and impose them on unaided
institutions as a condition precedented for getting recognisation of
schools. But, under the guise of regulations, the State cannot
pressurise a particular language as a sole language as medium of
instruction," observed the court.
Background: The government on 29, April 1994 issued a gazette
notification saying that mother tongue of the Child or Kannada should
be the medium of instruction, from Ist standard to IV std. However,
the petitioners challenged the matter before the HC on May 19, 1994,
seeking directions setting aside the order of the state.

Minister's take

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Visveshwara Hegde Kageri said
his government will not hesitate to appeal against the HC order in
case the order jeopardises the interest of Kannada. "I am yet to go
through the court order. I will hold meetings with officials,
pro-Kannada organisation and writers besides legal experts before
deciding the next course of action", he added. To a persistent query
whether the government would move SC on the issue, he said he will
have to read the judgement and later he can react. Asked what would be
the status of de-recognised schools, the minister said, "let me read
the judgement".


N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to
its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner
or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who
disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal. (H. Schiffman, Moderator)

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list