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Karnataka High Court: Kannada cannot be mandatory for degree students

October 27, 2021

The Karnataka High court on Monday sought that the government reconsider its decision to make Kannada mandatory for all students enrolling for a degree course in the state. 

Under the National Education Policy 2020, which the state government is implementing in the higher education sector starting this academic year. The state government in Karnataka has mandated that  Kannada must be among the two languages that a student must study at least in the first two years of an undergraduate degree programme. A differential curriculum was proposed to introduce the language to outstation students. 
 
A high court division bench headed by chief justice Ritu Raj Awasthi adjourned the hearing to November 12. The court was hearing a petition challenging two orders of the state government mandating Kannada as a language to be learnt by all undergraduate students. The court has granted time up to November 10 for the state government to reconsider its decision. 
 
The High Court, while not passing an order agreed to give additional time for the state government to reconsider the order. “With the understanding that the state will reconsider the issue, we adjourn the matter,” the court observed orally. 
 
Samskrita Bharati Karnataka Trust along with two other organisations prompting Sanskrit in the state filed a PIL at the Karnataka high court opposing the move. 
 
Advocate S S Naganand who represented a petitioner submitted that over 1.32 lakh students would be impacted if learning Kannada was mandated. The petitioners also said that this was a restriction on the basic right of Freedom of Speech and expression as well. 
 
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