[lg policy] More Karnataka: 2, 200 English-medium schools not to be closed

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jul 23 14:28:54 UTC 2009

Date:22/07/2009 URL:
New Delhi

Supreme Court refuses to stay HC order on language policy

J. Venkatesan

2,200 English-medium schools not to be closed


The choice should be left to the parents: Chief Justice of India K.G.

Stay on contempt proceedings initiated against the State in High Court

New Delhi: The Karnataka Government suffered a setback on Tuesday with
the Supreme Court refusing to stay the operation of a July 2008
judgment of the Karnataka High Court quashing the 1994 language policy
of compelling unaided schools to impart primary education to students
only in their mother tongue, Kannada, in classes 1 to 4. A three-judge
Bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice P.
Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan in a brief order while declining
to stay the judgment, however, stayed the contempt proceedings
initiated against the State in the High Court. The Bench asked the
Government not to pass orders for closure of the about 2,200
English-medium schools which had admitted about five lakh students.
The Bench directed the matter to be listed for final hearing in the
last week of August.

State’s view

Appearing for the State, senior counsel P.P. Rao said children would
imbibe things better if the medium of instruction was in their mother
tongue. “We have to take care of the interest of the children.
Learning through mother tongue is the universal law for all.”Chief
Justice Balakrishnan observed, “It is easy to say things. They are
unable to get even a clerical post. How do we survive in this world?
Parents are ready to pay Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 50,000 for admission in
English-medium schools. This is the real state of affairs. They don’t
want to send their children to mother tongue-medium schools. The
choice should be left to the parents.”

Justice Sathasivam said, “There was no stay for one year. Let the same
situation continue.” Senior counsel A.K. Ganguly, appearing for
Associated Managements of Government Recognised Unaided English Medium
Primary and Secondary Schools Association said about 2,200
English-medium schools had already admitted about five lakh students
but the government was refusing to give recognition. He said all the
schools were teaching Kannada as a compulsory language but not as a
medium of instruction.

Fresh application

In its fresh application, the State Government said that on the basis
of the July 2008 judgment, some of the institutions made applications
seeking permission to start English-medium schools and also seeking
permission to change over from Kannada medium to English medium. The
State said that in view of the pending SLP in the Supreme Court, such
permission could not be given.
The Full Bench of the High Court had held that private and unaided
schools within the State could not be compelled to impart primary
education to students only in their mother tongue or in the regional
language (in this case Kannada). As per the policy in the primary
school (1st standard to 4th standard), the medium of instruction shall
be in the mother tongue of the child or in Kannada. The SLP was
directed against this judgment.

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