The Supreme Court refused to stay an Order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court against making English the medium of education for government schools between class I to VI from the 2020-21 Academic Year.
The Court stated that Section 29(2)(f) of the Right to Education Act, 2009 (“RTE”), under which the medium of instruction shall, be in the mother tongue of the child. Article 29 of the Constitution, which protects the interests of minority classes, entitles citizens to conserve their language and prohibits discrimination on the basis of language. Article 120, i.e. language to be used in Parliament provides for use of Hindi or English for transactions of Parliament but also gives the right to Members of Parliament to speak in their native language. Part XVII of the Constitution deals with the official languages in Articles 343 to 351. Article 350A, i.e facilities for instruction in mother-tongue at primary stage, provides that it shall be the endeavour of every State and of every local authority within the State to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups. Article 351, i.e directive for development of the Hindi language provides that it shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language. The Eighth Schedule recognises the following twenty-two languages as official languages: Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Santhali, Maithili and Dogri.