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rajasthan high court

Rajasthan High Court: Right to choose medium of instruction with parents

January 7, 2022
-Dipta Joshi
The Rajasthan High Court on Tuesday (January 4) reiterated the right of a child or his parents (on his behalf) to choose the language in which he should betake his education. The High Court was hearing a petition filed against the Rajasthan state government’s decision to convert a Hindi medium school into an English medium school. The High Court not only revoked the state government’s decision but also examined whether or not the right to receive education in one’s mother tongue or any particular language is a fundamental right.
The Rajasthan government in its 2021-22 budget planned to introduce 1200 English medium Mahatma Gandhi Government Schools within two years in all villages with a population of more than 5000. The Rajasthan Director of Secondary Education had sanctioned the conversion of 345 government schools into Mahatma Gandhi English Medium Schools on September 20, 2021. Among the selected schools for immediate conversion was Shri Hari Singh Sr. Sec. School, (estb.1980) Pilwa, Jodhpur with classes I-XII serving 600 students which has filed a petition in the High Ccourt against the state government.
The High Court bench of Justice Dinesh Mehta considered this mid-term change violative of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution that prohibits any discrimination by the state on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. The Court directed that the state government should circulate the proposed agenda of converting the language of imparting education for the upcoming 2022-23 academic session in advance and convene a meeting with school management in the presence of sub-divisional magistrate and nominee of the district education officer.
The Court also examined the fundamental right of children and parents (on their behalf) to get education in one’s mother tongue in context to Article 19 (1) (a) of the constitution which guarantees freedom of speech. Summing up, the Court observed“In the opinion of this Court, English, as a medium of instruction, cannot be thrusted upon a child even by a legislation enacted by the State Government, much less by a policy decision.”  It also concluded that the state’s policy decision should be quashed and set aside as it “can’t whittle down” the fundamental right of a child to choose a medium of instruction, which is assured, rather protected by Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution of India.

Educators across the state have welcomed the Court’s order with regards to the medium of instruction. “We are very happy with the Rajasthan High Court’s order because English medium private schools have been worried by the ambiguous language used in the New Education Policy (2020) that says elementary education should be in the mother tongue of the child. Now, it has become amply clear that the medium of instruction is the choice of the parents. The Supreme Court had already held the right to education in one’s mother tongue or a particular language lies with the parents under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution in the matter of State of Karnataka & Anr. vs. Associated Management of English Medium Primary & Secondary Schools & Ors. (2014). The Rajasthan High Court has reiterated the same,” says Damodar Goyal, President, Society for Unaided  Private Schools, Rajasthan.
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