The Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to make the English medium compulsory in all state schools from the 2020-21 school year was hit with a backlash by the Supreme Court on Thursday, which refused to uphold the Supreme Court ruling on the matter.
A Supreme Court department bank, comprised of Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice KM Joseph, and Justice Indu Malhotra, asked respondents – Sudheesh Rambhotla and Guntupalli Srinivas – to turn in their counters about the AP government’s special leave request against the Supreme Court order .
The bank said it would investigate the merits of the case and consider allowing a stand on the Supreme Court’s order after going through the affidavits submitted by respondents. The case was released for further hearing through September 25.
On April 15, the Supreme Court overturned the Government Ordinance (GO No. 85 of November 20, 2019), according to which English middle school education from grades I to VI in elementary, high and high schools is compulsory among all managers from 2020 to 21 . It should be gradually extended to each additional class from the next academic years.
The Supreme Court agreed with the petitioners’ allegation that the said GO violated the provisions of the 2009 Law on the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education and Articles 14, 21 and 21-A of the Constitution.
The Andhra Pradesh government moved the Supreme Court in June and challenged the Supreme Court order. Senior government attorney K V Vishwanathan argued that the Right to Education Act did not contain a provision that education should only be compulsory in the mother tongue.
The attorney said that the introduction of the English medium was a progressive decision as the unavailability of the English medium in state schools forced parents to send their children to private schools to spend a lot of money. “As a result, enrollment in state schools is falling,” he argued.
He said the government was ready to set up Telugu middle schools for those who wanted to learn in their native language and they would also get free transportation. He noted that a government survey found that 95% of students and parents wanted English as a medium of instruction.