Learning Kannada can’t be forced: Karnataka High Court


Team Udayavani, Oct 27, 2021, 1:15 PM IST

Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday said that students from outside the state cannot be forced to study Kannada. It gave time to the state government to review the issue.

Under the provisions of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, the state government had made the Kannada language a compulsory subject for undergraduate students from the academic year 2021-22.

A PIL was filed before the Karnataka High court opposing the decision of the state government and the case was assigned to a division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum.

During the hearing of the PIL, Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadagi raised the objection arguing that compulsory Kannada is not a regular course. Anybody who seeks employment in Karnataka must study Kannada and that they do not require to study Kannada in the classical sense, he argued.

The bench reportedly took an exception and said language cannot be forced on any students. “You (State) don’t insist on Kannada. Whatever, in any manner, you cannot impose any subject for the students who come to Karnataka. For the job seekers from other states, you can put a condition, so that we can give you time for reconsideration of the decision. If you say so, we will give you time, otherwise, we will stay,” the court reportedly said.

The hearing on the matter was adjourned to November 10, 2021.

Earlier, senior counsel SS Naganand, representing the petitioners, argued that students coming from outside the state are at a disadvantage as they haven’t studied the basics of the language. Making a language compulsory discriminates against them. The government’s order would affect more than 1.30 lakh students and 4,000 language teachers in the state, he said.

 

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