New Delhi, December 1: The Supreme Court Friday asked the government not to 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 retaining German as a third langauge.
"You test them in Sanskrit for the additional language and German remains a third language" as replacing German with Sanskrit during the academic session creates difficulties for the students, said a bench of Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice Kurian Joseph.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said he would revert to the court after taking instruction from the government. Allowing time, the court directed the next hearing of the matter December 5.
The court said this in the course of hearing a petition by 22 aggrieved parents who had challenged the government decision to substitute German with Sanskrit as a third language in the middle of the academic session.
Suggesting accommodating the students for the current academic year, the court said: "As Indians we are for Sanskrit. But think of the parents and children (effected by the change of policy in the mid-session)." The court said that Sanskrit was the mother of many Indian languages and it can be learnt.
Rohatgi told the court that Kendriya Vidyalayas Sangathan entered into MoU with 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. Wondering how expiry of the MoU came in the way of continuing with the teaching of German for the remaining part of the academic session, the court said that "for learning English you don't need to enter MoU with England".
Rohatgi told the court that such a course would amount to continuing with an illegality as under the constitution, the three language formula says that besides English, Hindi and students have to learn a regional language as a third language. He told the court that MoU introducing German as a third language was illegal and the government by its latest policy has reverted back to pre-2011 position.
He told the court that government was not killing the initiatives of the students to learn German but it can be pursued as a hobby or by whatever name it could be described. As Rohatgi said that about 25,000 out of 70,000 students have accepted Sanskrit in place of German, the counsel for the petitioners Reema Singh said that "they have to accept it they can't fight with school authorities". She told the court that constitution talks about the promotion of Hindi and not that of Sanskrit. She said that replacing German with Sanskrit could be done in the new academic session and not now.