Centre told to postpone national-level science test planned only in Hindi, English

HC asks govt to take steps to hold the science aptitude test in regional languages, rejects counsel’s argument of dearth of personnel to check answers sheets
Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo | Vinay Madapu, EPS)
Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo | Vinay Madapu, EPS)

MADURAI: Criticising the Central government for planning to conduct a national-level science aptitude test in only Hindi and English, citing certain difficulties in conducting it in vernacular languages, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Monday ordered postponement of the test.

The case pertained to the aptitude test on November 7 by the Department of Science and Technology of the Central government for the Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY) fellowship.

A Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice M Duraiswamy passed the interim order for postponement on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition by one G Theeran alias Thirumurugan, seeking direction to conduct the test in all vernacular languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. 

Assistant Solicitor General L Victoria Gowri, appearing for the Centre, argued the government does not have adequate personnel to check answers sheets in multiple languages. Also, it may be difficult to find equivalent words for scientific terminologies in vernacular languages, she said. But the judges rejected the said reasons.

“Although English may not be spoken in Germany or Japan, the two countries are not deficient in technology or in the field of science. While it is possible common scientific words are used in a particular language, it cannot be said a candidate not proficient in a particular language will not be able to demonstrate his skills in the field of science,” the Chief Justice observed.

“Moreover, not having qualified personnel to appreciate the material put up by non-Hindi and non-English speaking aspirants or candidates is a deficiency of the government and young aspirants from non-Hindi or non-English speaking belts should not suffer because of it,” he said.

The Bench told the government to suspend and postpone the test and directed them to file a response indicating the steps taken to obtain adequate personnel so that the examination can be held in multiple Indian languages. The case would be heard again in two weeks in the Principal Seat. 

Programme designed to spot talent for research 
KVPY is an ongoing National Program of Fellowship in Basic Sciences, initiated to identify students with talent and aptitude for research; help them realize their academic potential; encourage them to take up research careers in Science, and ensure the growth of best scientific minds for research and development in the country. Students studying in Class XI to 1st year of any Undergraduate course in Basic Sciences (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology) are eligible to apply for the fellowship and are selected through an aptitude test and an interview.

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