CHENNAI: Senior counsel and Rajya Sabha member Kapil Sibal representing the State government told the Madras High Court on Tuesday that a situation may arise when TN children may have to study medicine in Hindi if education continues to be on the Concurrent list. There can’t be uniformity in education since each State has its own cultural ethos, and unique characteristics, he added.
“The State should have the freedom to decide what is required for its children. Local ethos, culture, and arts should be taken into consideration while framing the curriculum. This is not to be decided by (the Centre) sitting in Delhi,” he said, making arguments on the case challenging Section 57 of the Constitution, 42nd (Amendment) Act, 1976, which paved the way for removing education from the State list.
He further assailed the concept of uniformity in education saying that it is against the standards. “Uniformity is an anti-thesis.” Sibal made the arguments before a full bench of Justices R Mahadevan, M Sundar, and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy.
Questioning the powers and rationale of the Parliament in debating the facets of education of a State, he asked what if the Parliament says children will be taught only in Hindi? ‘This will invade the fundamental rights and the basic structure of the Constitution and federalism.” He said that he heard from someone in the ‘North Block’ that medical education will soon be imparted in Hindi across India.
Answering a question of the bench about the delay of four-and-a-half decades in challenging the 42nd Amendment, he said there is no question of lag or delay for challenging the amendment when it is against the very basic structure of the Constitution. Senior counsel NR Elango, representing the petitioner, Dr Ezhilan Naganathan, DMK MLA, and a trustee of Aram Seyya Virumbu, wound up his arguments.
The matter was posted to December 9 for hearing.