Karnataka High Court suspends state orders making Kannada compulsory in higher education

A divisional bench of the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday suspended until further notice two state government orders making the Kannada language a compulsory subject in higher education as part of the implementation of the national policy education (NEP). The order follows a clarification from the Center that the NEP does not plan to make learning the local state language compulsory in higher education.

“Given the position of the central government that the Kannada language cannot become a compulsory subject in higher education for the purposes of implementing the national education policy, we conclude, prima facie, that government ordinances challenges dated 07.08.2021 and 15.09.2021 cannot be implemented,” ruled the Division Bench, consisting of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice SR Krishna Kumar.

Government orders of August 7 and September 15 making Kannada a compulsory language to be studied in university colleges – regardless of language courses taken at pre-university level – had caused confusion at the time of admissions to university colleges in Karnataka in 2021 .

A group of students – Shivakumar G (18) and five others – and several trusts run by the Samskrita Bharathi Trust had approached the High Court over the government’s decision to make Kannada a compulsory language for university courses.

“Prima facie, we are of the opinion that the implementation of Kannada language as a compulsory subject in higher education based on the implementation of the national education policy is a matter that needs consideration and as such, the state government at this stage should not insist on making the language compulsory,” the High Court had ruled in a previous interim order dated December 13, 2021.

“Students who have already learned Kannada language on the basis of their choice can do so, but all those students who do not wish to learn Kannada language will not be required to pursue Kannada language until further notice,” said the tribunal. Last year.

The Center told the High Court in an affidavit in January this year that the NEP had no plans to make learning the local state language compulsory in higher education.

“There is no mention of any language constraint in the National Education Policy 2020 and the provisions of the NEP 2020 are clear. Therefore, there is no need to re-articulate the provisions,” the Center’s affidavit stated.

“It is recalled that Chapter 4 of Part I, Chapter 9 of Part II and Chapter 22 of Part III are in the form of a general policy of the Union of India. The NEP 2020 is designed to realize a comprehensive education system to provide easy access to citizens keeping in mind the aspirations of local, regional and national levels. As such, the policy should be understood, interpreted and implemented with the broad purposes enshrined in the Constitution in mind,” the affidavit states.

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