The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on a State government’s notification mandating mother tongue as the medium of instruction in primary classes.
Reserving the order, a five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by Justice R M Lodha, questioned the government’s contention and expressed its dissatisfaction over arguments put forth in favour of the notification.
Advocate K V Dhananjay, representing more than 1,800 private unaided English medium schools in Karnataka, told the Bench how language is not ingrained in the human brain and teaching in the mother tongue in primary classes cannot do much to improve career prospects.
“The Government wholly errs when it assumes that a parent’s preference for English medium education is a rejection and devaluation of Kannada language. Kannada is a language of immeasurable greatness. A child could learn through English medium in his school and still be perfectly wedded to Kannada culture and hold it with the greatest respect and regard,” Dhananjay said.
Citing the example of Nagaland where 90 per cent of the population is declared as Scheduled Tribes and English is the preferred medium of instruction, Dhananjay said, “Today, 51 per cent of all children in India in the primary education system are enrolled in Hindi medium. Then comes English medium, which has 11 per cent.”
“If English cannot be protected by the courts because it did not originate in India, what about the religion of Islam and Christianity? These religions did not originate in India. Are not these two religions entitled to protection?,” he questioned.