Matter referred to a five-judge Supreme Court Constitution Bench

A five-judge Constitution Bench will decide whether mother tongues or regional languages can be imposed by States as the medium of instruction for primary school students.

A Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi referred a batch of petitions regarding an order passed by the State in 1994, making Kannada the medium of instruction for students studying in Standards 1 to 4 in schools recognised by the State government.

In its judgment the Bench said the vital question involved in these petitions “has a far-reaching significance on the development of the children in our country who are the future adults. The primary school years of a child are an important phase in a child’s education. Besides, it moulds the thinking process and tutors on the communication skills. Thus, primary education lays the groundwork for future learning and success.”

Writing the judgment, Justice Sathasivam said: “Succinctly, the skills and values that primary education instils are no less than foundational and serve as bases for all future learning. Likewise, the importance of a language cannot be understated; we must recollect that reorganisation of States was primarily based on language. Further, the issue involved in this case concerns the fundamental rights of not only the present generation, but also the generations yet to be born.” The Bench, considering the “constitutional importance”...