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SC says no to making Hindi compulsory in schools

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New Delhi, May 4:

The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to entertain a plea for making Hindi compulsory in all schools up to Class 8 across the country and declaring it as a national language.

Observing that this may prompt people speaking other languages to ask why their language was not being taught, the bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul asked the petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay to withdraw his plea.

Noting that the petitioner was himself a leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, the bench asked why he does not approach the government as his own party is in power.

Upadhyay is a spokesman of the Delhi unit of BJP.

As senior counsel R.S. Suri appearing for petitioner Upadhyay addressed the court on the plea, the bench remarked that if the petitioner is asking for Hindi, someone else would ask for Sanskrit and “you and me will say about Punjabi”.

Seeking the promotion of Hindi, the petitioner has sought direction to declare Hindi as the National Language of India in the spirit of Article 343, 344, 348, 351 and Preamble of the Constitution of India.

Seeking the compulsory teaching of Hindi upto Class 8 across the country, the petitioner referred to the 1968 three-language formula which provided for the study of Hindi, English and modern Indian language in Hindi speaking states and Hindi, English and the regional language in non-Hindi speaking States.

He said the National Education Policy 1986 had reiterated the 1968 three- language formula.

The petitioner added said that the Ali Sardar Jafri committee that was set up in 1990 made recommendations modifying the three-language formula under which in Hindi speaking states three languages comprised of Hindi, Urdu or any modern Indian languages and English or any other modern European language.

In non-Hindi speaking States, the Jafri committee had recommended regional language, Hindi, Urdu or any other modern Indian language and English or any other modern European language.

In fact in non-Hindi speaking states – by the Jafri Committee recommendation – the three-language formula became a four-language affair.

The petitioner said, however, all states have not followed the three-language formula till date. (IANS)