The High Court of Karnataka has taken action on a petition challenging the compulsory teaching of Kannada as a language in CBSE/CICSE schools. The court has ordered the state government to respond to the petition. The case was brought by twenty parents of children attending these schools, who are contesting the Kannada Language Learning Act 2015, The Kannada Language Learning Rules 2017, and the Karnataka Educational Institutions (Issue of No-Objection Certificate and Control Rules) 2022. These regulations make it mandatory for students to learn Kannada as their first, second, or third language.
Mandatory learning of Kannada in Karnataka Schools
The petitioners argue that these laws unduly infringe upon the rights of school children in Karnataka to choose their preferred First, Second, and Third languages for study. They assert that this compulsion could have serious consequences on students’ academic outcomes and limit their future academic and employment opportunities.
The petitioners include Somashekar C, Srinivas Gaonkar, Geraldine Perpetua Andrews, Aneesha Hussain, and 16 other parents, all residents of Bengaluru.
The respondents in the case are the State of Karnataka, Union of India, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), and Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CICSE). The case was heard by a division bench comprising Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice MGS Kamal, who have ordered the issuance of notices to the concerned parties.
This legal challenge reflects the concerns of some parents regarding the mandatory teaching of Kannada in CBSE/CICSE schools and raises questions about the right to language choice in the state’s educational system. As the case progresses, the court’s decision may have significant implications for language education policies in Karnataka.