Bangalore, May 6 UNI | 3 months ago

Litterateurs, pro-Kannada activists and others today expressed deep disappointment and shock over today's Supreme Court order that upheld Karnataka High Court's verdict against making Kannada as medium of instruction in all schools in the state.

The verdict evoked strong reaction in the state and activists vouched that English should remain a language and not medium of instruction in the country.

Litterateurs urged the government to file revision petition in the apex court questioning the land mark verdict.

The apex Court had, earlier in the day, ruled that the state government cannot insist that the medium of instruction at the primary level be the mother tongue only.

Earlier, the high court had disallowed the state from imposing Kannada as medium of instruction at primary schools, including minority, unaided and non-Kannada schools.

The government, back in 1994, had laid down that the medium of instruction in all private schools from 1st to 4th standard, recognised by the state government, should be either in Kannada or mother tongue (and not English).

Karnataka Advocate General Ravi Varma Kumar had argued before the Supreme Court bench that the state had the Constitutional obligation to provide instructions to people in way of regulation.

'Primary school language should be one's mother tongue and not English, for, English is an alien language,' he argued before the court.

The Supreme Court upheld the HC order and said the mother tongue was what is spoken at home and a state government cannot impose on it.

In a guarded reaction to the SC order, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the state government would study the court order first and then decide on the future course of its action after consulting Legal experts.

"I am yet to receive the Supreme Court order. We will study it and think of what we have to do next," he told reporters here.

The decision of the government was opposed by parents, including those who belonged to SC/ST families who had insisted that their wards should be able to study in English medium to be competitive with students of forward communities.

However, the pro-Kannada activists had strongly advocated compulsory teaching in Kannada medium across the state to safeguard language in times when people of Karnataka were not giving Kannada its due in school education.

Veteran journalist and Kannada proponent Patil Puttappa said in Hubli that education in India should be based on mother tongue and English should be excluded.

"Each state should promote regional languages as instruction in primary schools and this is needed to safeguard the interests of the languages spoken in the country, he said.

"The Supreme Court verdict in favour of English is unfortunate. The Indian states should stand as one and make regional language in public instruction as compulsory," he insisted.

Minister for Primary Education Kimmane Ratnakara also expressed disappointment over the court verdict and said the order may affect the development of regional languages in the country.

"The court order does not mean that the fight for promotion of mother tongue should end. This is also not the end of regional languages being the medium of instruction in schools. The government will soon decide the next course of action," Mr Ratnakara said.

Describing the verdict as detrimental to the interest of Kannada in the state, noted scholar Chidanandamurthy said, survival of native culture depends on regional language and judgement failed in understanding that aspect.

Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj, who is fighting for the cause of Kannada for long, said the government should file a review petition immediately and the Chief Minister should convene special session to discuss the threat being faced by Kannada, because of the judgement.

(Posted on 07-05-2014)