New Delhi, December 8: The central government told the Supreme Court Friday that the switch over from German to Sanskrit as a third language in Kendriya Vidyalayas will be effected but there will be no Sanskrit exams in the current academic year. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told a bench of Justice Anil. R. Dave and Justice Kurian Joseph that the government has taken the decision to dispense with the Sanskrit examination in the current academic year while addressing the concerns of the court and the stress the students would have undergone due to a mid-session switch.
The government made it clear that German would now be an optional language. "What is your objection? If my son is studying Sanskrit in addition to German, as a father, I will accept it immediately. What the Attorney General says, what is wrong in it," asked Justice Dave as petitioners' counsel Reema Singh sought to oppose the government's decision. Describing the government decision as "good solution", the court said what was objectionable if our children learn Sanskrit without stress and still continue with German.
"All of us have children," Justice Dave said pointing to Justice Joseph, Rohatgi and the counsel for the petitioners. "There has to be a way out. The matter was raised yesterday in parliament. Entire parliament supported the government," Rohatgi told the court saying that German will be optional and not as a third language, while no exam will be conducted for Sanskrit this year.
"One month has gone by after the switchover (from German to Sanskrit). Going back to switch would be a problem," he said. The government's decision not to hold exam for Sanskrit in the current academic year was in response to court's Nov 28 poser asking the government to not treat Sanskrit as a third language for the students of Kendriya Vidyalayas from class 6 to 8 and instead treat it as an additional language, while retaining German as a third language for the current academic year. Since the counsel for the petitioners - the parents of the affected students of Kendriya Vidyalayas - wanted to seek instructions from clients on the latest government position, the court adjourned the hearing till Monday.
Twenty-two aggrieved parents moved the apex court challenging the government decision to substitute German with Sanskrit as a third language in the middle of the session of the academic year. German was introduced as a third language in Kendriya Vidyalayas following the signing of MoU between the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangthan and the Goethe Institute of Max Mueller Bhavan in 2011 for the training of the teachers for teaching German.
The agreement, that was for three years, ended in 2014. The Modi government, while introducing Sanskrit as third language, has taken a position that MoU between the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangthan and the Goethe Institute of Max Mueller Bhavan in 2011 was illegal and was in violation of constitutional provisions. The government decision affected 70,000 Kendriya Vidyalaya students who were studying German.
The court in the earlier hearings of the matter was told by the government that under the constitution, the three language formula says that besides English and Hindi, students have to learn a regional language as a third language.