The government suffered a major setback on Wednesday with the High Court striking down G.O. Ms No.85 (dated Nov 20, 2019) which made English medium education compulsory from classes I to VI in primary, upper primary and high schools under all managements from 2020-21. It was to be gradually extended to each further class from the next consequent academic years.
The petitioners — Sudheesh Rambhotla and Guntupalli Srinivas — had sought the declaration of the said GO as ultra vires of the provisions of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 and violative of Articles 14, 21 and 21-A of the Constitution.
They argued that if the impugned GO was implemented, there would be a high possibility of students who were not well versed with English, being forced to take instructions in that language, which amounts to deprivation of effective education. It would be a violation of Article 21-A.
Also, since most of the children coming to government schools belong to the economically weaker sections, their parents would not be able to guide their children and that would be a wastage of their first and best chance of learning.
It may be noted that the A.P Education Act 1/1982 (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which gave legal sanctity to the GO, was passed by the Assembly in January without accommodating the changes suggested by the Legislative Council.