Supreme Court directs Centre to conduct KVPY exam in all vernacular languages, delay exam is needed 

The order initially passed by the Madras High Court asked the Centre to conduct the aptitude test in all 13 vernacular languages
Image for representational purpose only (Pic: TNIE)
Image for representational purpose only (Pic: TNIE)

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the Central Government to conduct the national science aptitude test under the Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojna (KVPY) fellowship to be held on November 7 in all 13 vernacular languages as it asked the Centre not to get personal over an order to this effect passed on Monday by the Madras High Court.

“What is there for the Union to get personal over this order,” asked a bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai, as it highlighted that the government had to simply arrange for the translation of the question papers from English and Hindi to vernacular languages.

The HC had even provided the option for postponement of the examination to facilitate implementation of its order. The order came on a PIL filed by G Thirumurugan who sought orders to have the test in all regional languages in order to benefit students whose education is in vernacular languages.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain who appeared for the Centre said, “We are in favour of having the exam in multilingual mode. I have advised the Centre to conduct the examination in all 13 languages but this is possible from next year as there are over 1.5 lakh students whose careers will be affected.”

The appeal was filed by the Director, Indian Institute of Science, the nodal agency holding the scholarship examination every year to promote research among students in the discipline of science. Students studying in Class XI and upwards till first year of graduation are eligible to take this examination. Nearly 1.5 lakh students have signed up for this year's exam.

“The petitioner approached the High Court at a belated stage. Preparation of papers in all languages won’t happen before next year. We do not have sufficient time as the examination is to be conducted within a week,” ASG Jain said.

The bench refused to accept the argument and dismissed the appeal. “You have sufficient men and machinery to undertake the translation work. You can postpone the exam but implement the HC order,” the bench added.

The High Court had on Monday remained firm on conducting the exam in all 13 vernacular languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution as it said, young aspirants from non-Hindi or non-English speaking belts should not suffer because of it.” The matter is still pending in the High Court as the Centre is yet to file its response to the PIL.

The objections regarding paucity of time, dearth of personnel to translate and evaluate the test, were raised by the Centre even before the High Court. But the HC answered it by saying that lack of trained staff is a deficiency that must be addressed by the Government. “It cannot be said that a candidate not proficient in a particular language will not be able to demonstrate his skills in the field of science,” the HC had observed.

The top court appreciated the concern of the HC and said that in many states, Science is taught in higher classes in vernacular medium although many states have it in English. The ASG told the Court that scientific phraseology is not easy to translate and they required time to scout for trained personnel.

The Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojna fellowship is a one-of-its-kind initiative by the Department of Science and Technology to spot talent in Science and encourage scientific minds to undertake research in the country. Eligible persons are chosen through an aptitude test followed by an interview. This year, the notification for the examination was issued on July 12 and this was challenged by the PIL petitioner before the Madras High Court in August.

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