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High Court Stays Karnataka Govt's Order Making Kannada Compulsory Subject In Degree Courses

Mustafa Plumber
6 April 2022 6:46 AM GMT
High Court Stays Karnataka Govts Order Making Kannada Compulsory Subject In Degree Courses
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The Karnataka High court on Wednesday stayed till further orders two Government orders issued in 2021, making Kannada language a compulsory subject in degree courses in the State. A division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice S R Krishna Kumar in its order said, "In view of the stand of the Central Government that the Kannada language cannot be made as...

The Karnataka High court on Wednesday stayed till further orders two Government orders issued in 2021, making Kannada language a compulsory subject in degree courses in the State.

A division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice S R Krishna Kumar in its order said,

"In view of the stand of the Central Government that the Kannada language cannot be made as compulsory subject in higher studies for the purpose of implementing National Education Policy. We prima facie find that the impugned GO dated 7/08/2021 and 15/09/2021 cannot be implemented. The operation of the GO's are stayed till further orders."

The court had asked the Government of India to clear its stand on the issue. Following which an affidavit was filed stating that, "There is no mention of any compulsion of language in the National Education Policy 2020 and the policy is to be understood, interpreted and implemented keeping in mind broad objectives enshrined in the Constitution."

Further it was said, "The NEP 2020 is designed to achieve a comprehensive educational system for providing easy access to citizens keeping in mind the aspirations of local, regional and national levels."

On December 16, 2021 the court by way of interim order had directed the state government to not compel students who do not wish to take Kannada language as a compulsory subject while pursuing degree courses, till further orders.

The bench had said, "We have considered the submissions. We are of the prima facie view that matter with respect to Kannada Language being made compulsory language in higher studies on the basis of National Education Policy, is a question which requires consideration. State government at this stage shall not insist on making language compulsory. Those students who have taken the Kannada language on the basis of their choice may do so, all such students who do not wish to take the Kannada language shall not be compelled to pursue the Kannada language, till further orders."

The direction was given while hearing two petitions one filed by students and the other by Samskrita Bharati Karnataka Trust, challenging the Karnataka Government's decision making Kannada language a compulsory subject in degree courses in the State.

The plea challenges two GOs dated August 7, 2021 and September 15, 2021 as arbitrary and contrary to the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution. It states that the impugned GOs take away the freedom to choose a language for study and makes it mandatory for all students in Karnataka to take up Kannada as a language in degree courses offered in all streams of science, commerce and arts. Thus, there is a restriction on freedom of speech and expression enshrined under the Constitution.

The court will take up the matter for final hearing in the last week of July.

Case Title: Samskrita Bharati Karnataka Trust v. Union Of India

Case No: WP 18156/2021

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