The Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to introduce English medium compulsorily in the entire state-run schools from 2020-21 academic year received a setback with Supreme Court on Thursday refusing to grant stay on the state high court’s judgement in this regard.
A division bench of the Supreme Court, comprising justice D Y Chandrachud, justice KM Joseph and justice Indu Malhotra, asked the respondents – Sudheesh Rambhotla and Guntupalli Srinivas – to dossier their counters over the special leave petition filed by the AP government challenging the high court order.
The bench said it would look into the merits of the case and imagine granting stay on the high court order after going through the counter-affidavits to be filed by the respondents. It posted the case to September 25 for further hearing.
On April 15, the state high court struck down government order (GO No. 85 Dated November 20, 2019) making English medium education obligatory from classes I to VI in primary, upper primary and high schools under all managements from 2020-21. It used to be to be gradually extended to every further class from the next consequent academic years.
The high court agreed with the contention of the petitioners that the said GO used to be ultra vires of the provisions of Correct of Children to Free and Obligatory Education Act, 2009 and violative of Articles 14, 21 and 21-A of the Charter.
The Andhra Pradesh government moved Supreme Court in June challenging the high court’s order. Senior advocate for the government K V Vishwanathan argued that there used to be no provision in the Correct to Education Act that education will have to be compulsorily done only in the mother tongue.
Stating that introduction of English medium is a progressive decision, the advocate said because of non-availability of English medium in government schools, the parents were forced to send their children to the private schools spending enormous money. “Because of this, the enrolment in the government schools is coming down,” he argued.
He said the government used to be willing to set up Telugu medium schools for individuals who wanted to study in mother tongue and they might also be given with free transport. He pointed out that a survey conducted by the government revealed that 95% of students and parents wanted English as the medium of instruction.