KARNATAKA

Language row: court clubs contempt plea with writ appeal by State

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Monday clubbed a contempt petition by schools with a writ appeal by the State on the contentious language issue.

A Division Bench comprising Justice K.L. Manjunath and Justice C.R. Kumaraswamy passed the order after the Government advocate said another Division Bench headed by the Chief Justice had ordered a writ appeal by the State to be clubbed with a contempt petition.

The Bench was hearing contempt petitions by Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association (KUSMA) and other schools. The petitioners had contended that Principal Secretary of Primary and Secondary Education R. Nadadur and other officials of the Education Department had committed contempt by refusing to comply with orders of the High Court.

The petitioners’ contention is that the Full Bench of the Karnataka High court had on July 2, 2008asked the Government to pass orders on applications by schools seeking permission to start English-medium schools. The authorities had issued endorsements saying that as the language row is pending before Supreme Court, it had been decided against permitting English-medium schools.

When the matter came up, counsel for the petitioners said the order of the Division Bench headed by the Chief Justice pertained only to contempt petition by KUSMA. He said there is no such order in his case.

The Bench said the Chief Justice had already ordered clubbing of the writ appeal with the contempt plea. Moreover, the Government advocate had filed a memo saying that the matter may be adjourned as the court of the Chief Justice had ordered clubbing of the appeal by the State against a single judge order with the contempt plea by KUSMA.

The Bench said in case the schools wanted to contest the memo filed by the State, they could move the Chief Justice for initiating criminal contempt against the advocate.

The Bench passed the same order in another contempt petition by KUSMA and adjourned further hearing in both the cases.