Published: 07th April 2022
Karnataka HC stays govt orders making Kannada compulsory subject in higher education
Orally, the court observed that it is not against any language and that it is only looking at whether any regional language can be made compulsory under NEP
On Wednesday, April 6, the Karnataka High Court stayed the government order making Kannada compulsory as a subject in higher education from the academic year 2021-2022 as part of implementing the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
A division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice SR Krishna Kumar passed the interim order, staying the operation of two orders by the state government dated August 7, 2021 and September 15, 2021.
Two separate petitions were filed by the Samskrita Bharathi Karnataka Trust and KG Shivakumar and others, studying at Vijaya College at Basavanagudi in Bengaluru against the government orders of making the Kannda language compulsory at the UG (undergraduate) level.
Referring to the stand of the Union government that there is no mention of any compulsory language under NEP, the court said, "We prima facie find that the impugned government orders cannot be implemented or put into operation. Both the orders are stayed till further orders."
An impleading application has been filed by the Kannada Development Authority and the court has asked it to file objections if any. Orally, the court observed that it is not against any language and that it is only looking at whether any regional language can be made compulsory under NEP.
On December 16, 2021, the court observed, "We are of the view that the matter with respect to implementation of Kannada language as a compulsory subject in higher studies on the basis of implementing the NEP is a question which requires consideration and as such, the State Government at this stage should not insist to make the language compulsory. The students who have already taken Kannada on the basis of their choice may do so, but all such students who do not wish to take Kannada should not be compelled to pursue it till further orders."
The petitioners contended that students who hail from other states and haven't learnt Kannada will fail as it is not possible for them to study the language at the graduation level, it was the claim of the petitioners that the government orders would affect over 1.30 lakh students and 4,000 language teachers.
The Government of Karnataka contended that making Kannada compulsory was a policy decision and was in sync with the recommendations of the VK Gokak Committee report. About four lakh students have already taken admission opting for Kannada, admissions have almost concluded and the student petitioners have already studied Kannada up to Class XII. The government argued that they cannot have any objections with regard to studying the language while pursuing their higher studies.