Verdict on medium of instruction to be challenged

The State government has decided to file a review petition in the Supreme Court challenging the judgment that the State cannot impose mother tongue as the medium of instruction at the primary level.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who chaired a meeting of legal experts, Kannada writers and educationists at the State Secretariat on Friday, said the petition would be filed after another round of discussion with legal experts.

The Supreme Court’s judgment of May 6 contradicted its own verdict, delivered in the late 1980s, in favour of imparting primary education in mother tongue, he claimed.

Legislation planned

After the three-hour-long meeting, Mr. Siddaramaiah said the State government was planning to frame a legislation to give primacy for Kannada at the primary education level.

The government would pressure the Union government to safeguard the interests of mother tongue since the judgment was a big blow to the cause of Kannada. The issue would be raised at the next National Development Council meeting in New Delhi, the Chief Minister said.

Earlier, State Advocate-General Ravivarma Kumar gave a detailed analysis of legal aspects of the verdict and said filing a review petition was the best option before the government. Imparting primary education in mother tongue would ensure social justice to all sections of people, he said.

‘Verdict unscientific’

Jnanpith Award winner U.R. Ananthamurthy termed the judgment “unscientific” and urged the State government to take steps to improve infrastructure and quality of education in government schools. The judgment was a big blow on the federal structure of the country, he said.

Writer Hampa Nagarajaiah appealed to the Chief Minister to convene a meeting of all Chief Ministers in Bangalore to put up a collective fight against the verdict.

The former Chief Justice of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana M. Rama Jois said all commissions set up after the Independence had recommended that primary education should be in mother tongue

While writer C.N. Ramachandran suggested that the government introduce English as one of the subjects from Class 1 to attract students to Kannada-medium schools, writer Chandrashekar Patil stressed the importance of evolving a uniform education policy in the country.

The former Education Minister Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri suggested to the government to appoint a senior counsel in the Supreme Court to argue the case effectively.

‘Detrimental’

Describing the verdict as detrimental to the interests of Kannada in the State, scholar M. Chidananda Murthy said that survival of native culture depended on regional language and the judgment had failed to acknowledge this aspect.

Kannada Development Authority chairman Mukhyamantri Chandru, former KDA chairman Baragur Ramachandrappa, Kannada Sahitya Parishat president Pundalika Halambi, and writers such as Girish Karnad and Chandrashekar Kambar gave several suggestions to the government.

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