Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday said the state government would need to study a Supreme Court order striking down the usage of Kannada as the mandatory medium of instruction in primary schools in the state before deciding on its future course of action in the state.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that the government cannot impose the regional language in a state for imparting primary education.
The court was dealing with cases arising out of a 1994 Karnataka government order which made the regional Kannada language the mandatory medium of instruction in all schools in the state.
The Karnataka government, caught between allowing primary education to be imparted in any language preferred by the parents of children and local sentiments over the regional Kannada language, reacted in a cautious manner to the Supreme Court order.
Siddaramaiah, who has in recent times espoused both the cause of the Kannada language and the need for children to have the best form of education in the medium of their choice, said his government would hold consultations with lawyers after studying the order. Primary education minister Kimmane Ratnakar however stated that the Supreme Court order would be a setback to the growth of regional languages in the country.
The minister said the verdict of the Supreme Court does not signal the end of the battle to give Kannada its rightful status. Ratnakar said the government would hold discussions with Kannada literary figures and legal experts before deciding on the next course of legal action on the issue.
“This order is detrimental from the perspective of the growth of regional languages. Local languages will become extinct if this order comes into force,” the primary education minister said. A decision on continuing the battle for nurturing the local language will be taken soon, he said.
The Supreme Court order does not spell a loss for the state government and a victory for private schools but will affect all regional languages, he said.