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Legal Correspondent: Utkarsh Sinha

October 08, 2021: The Karnataka High Court, on Thursday said that they would examine the constitutional validity of making Kannada language as a compulsory subject for the Undergraduate courses in the State from the academic year 2021-2022 on the pretext of the implantation of the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. The higher education department floated this new policy as part of the implementation of the new National Education Policy (NEP). The bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum indicated that the hearing will be on Friday about the argument on behalf of the State Government on PIL petition filed by Samskrita Bharati (Karnataka) Trust and other educational institutions.

The petitioners have questioned the legality of the GOs (Government Orders) issues on August 07, 2021, and September 15, 2021, made kannada as one of the two languages to be studies compulsorily in UG courses irrespective of the language they studied in up to standard 12th or the state from which they belong and the mother tongue or the regional language. Later it was also pointed that the NEP 2020 does not specify any mandatory language criteria for the higher education/ UG courses. The petitioners have claimed that even the recommendations and report submitted by the task force and sub-committees on the implementation if the NEP 2020 did not contain any recommendations or criteria on making the kannada language a mandatory subject for the higher degree courses.

While the new education policy made some purports to offer a choice-based system to promote inclusivity and access to education, the official orders issued by the government in the guise of implementing NEP 2020 take away the choice-based credit system, it was claimed in the petition. The condition for making the kannada language a mandatory subject in degree courses is arbitrary and contrary to the Articles 14, 19, 21, 29 and 30 of the Constitution of the country as they just violate the freedom of speech and expression, the right of minorities and linguistic minorities, and also other students to choose languages of their choices for their courses of their choice for study, one of the petitioners contended.

The orders from the government also would create or result in discrimination as they tend to equate the students from Karnataka and from outside the state with the same credit system by offering same credits for studying difficult or an easier syllabus depending upon their previous education (subjects/languages). It was also said that that the implementation could result in the loss of jobs for over 4000 teachers teaching different languages such as Sanskrit, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu etc. in the Karnataka state where all the students including those who haven’t learn the language in their previous education have to learn the kannada language, one of the petitioners stated.


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