B.S. Ramesh

BANGALORE: The State Government is all set to file, in the next few days, a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court challenging the Karnataka High Court order striking down Kannada as a medium of instruction at the primary school-level.

A Full Bench of the Karnataka High Court comprising the then Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph, Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice N. Kumar had on July 2, 2008, held that the State has no right whatsoever to dictate the medium of instruction in which a child should study.

Though the Full Bench had not quashed the 1994 policy, it had struck down Sections 2, 3, 6 and 8 of the policy. These sections dealt with the medium of instruction and the punishment to schools that disobeyed the Government policy.

The Full Bench had said that the Government could prescribe the medium of instruction in Government and aided schools and not in private and unaided institutions. It is against this point in the judgment that the SLP is being filed.

The main argument in the SLP is that the Supreme Court had in 1994 upheld the 1989 policy of the State Government on the language policy. In fact, the Supreme Court had lauded the State for coming up with the policy. However, the 1989 policy was subsequently replaced by the 1994 language policy.

The State is contending that the present order (1994 language policy) is based on the 1989 policy, and that the High Court could not have quashed it as the Supreme Court had affirmed it in 1994. Clause 1 of the 1989 policy said from 1st to 4th standards, mother tongue will be the medium of instruction and from class three onwards, Kannada will be an optional subject for non-Kannada speaking students. Highly placed sources told The Hindu that the SLP is already ready and that it would be filed in the Supreme Court within the next few days.

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