Special Correspondent

The decision is subject to Madras High Court verdict on a petition

NEW DELHI: The Union government on Friday gave classical language status to Telugu and Kannada; bringing them into a league presently occupied by only Sanskrit and Tamil.

The announcement was made here by Union Culture Minister Ambika Soni on the eve of the Rajyotsava day of both Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka on Saturday.

However, the Minister added, the decision would be subject to the verdict of the Madras High Court on a writ petition pending before it. The Centre, she said, had moved in the matter to have the petition disposed of. As to how the Centre had moved ahead with the announcement, the Minister clarified that the court had not issued any stay on the matter and the government was informed that it could go ahead with the process subject to the final decision.

The decision to accord classical language status to Telugu and Kannada was taken on the basis of the recommendation of the nine-member Committee of Linguistic Experts. The matter had been referred to the committee in view of the long-pending demand of the two States.

Ms. Soni said representations were received from a wide spectrum of political and civil opinion in both the States. Only languages which have a proven antiquity of over 1,500 years can qualify for this status.

Earlier, the UPA government had granted similar status to Tamil as per a commitment made in the National Common Minimum Programme.

More In: Today's Paper