SC refuses to order stay on AP HC verdict against making English medium compulsory

South India

The Andhra Pradesh High Court had in June this year allowed a batch of PILs challenging the state goverment order to covert the medium of instruction in government schools to English.

The Supreme Court on Thursday, September 3, declined to order an interim stay on an Andhra Pradesh High Court order, quashing the government’s decision to make English medium compulsory for students of government schools from Class 1 to 6 in the ongoing academic year.

A bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, KM Joseph and Indu Malhotra agreed to hear the plea by the state government on the next date of hearing. However, it noted that Section 29(2)(f) of the Right to Education Act says the medium should be in mother tongue "so far as it is applicable" unless not possible, and it seems the high court had considered this.

Senior Counsel KV Vishwanathan, on behalf of the State, told the bench that this decision was a progressive and a forward-looking decision taken for the benefit of the students. He argued that according to a survey, the majority of the parents were in favour of the government schools imparting education in the English language.

"Majority of the parents today want medium of education to be in English. This is a forward-looking measure in accordance with the Constitution which takes a strong government to bring such a law," the senior counsel was quoted by Bar and Bench as saying.

Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayan, who is on caveat, opposed the stay on the high court order and submitted that the state should be fostering its mother tongue. Sankaranarayan argued that the choice is being taken away from parents and children, as Telugu speaking schools are being replaced with English medium.

Viswanathan reiterated that the top court should stay the High Court order. The bench allowed Sankaranarayan to file a reply and declined to stay the High Court order.

A News Minute report said that the Andhra Pradesh High Court had on April 15 struck down the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-government's decision making English medium mandatory and termed the order "unconstitutional and violative of several Acts, including the Right to Education Act".

The government had issued the orders earlier on November 20, 2019.


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