10-year-old moves HC questioning law making Kannada compulsory in CBSE/ICSE schools

He is a student of Bishop Cotton Boys’ School, Bengaluru

A 10-year-old student of Class IV studying in a school affiliated to the central board has moved the High Court of Karnataka questioning the constitutional validity of Kannada Language Learning (KLL) Act, 2015, which makes teaching of Kannada compulsory either as a first or second language from Class I to X from the academic year 2015-16 even in schools affiliated to CBSE/ICSE.

The student, Keertan Suresh of Bishop Cotton Boys’ School, Bengaluru, represented by his mother, Sujatha N., has termed the KLL Act, 2015 as “ex facie harsh, draconian, discriminatory, and violative of the Constitution of India”.

Justice R. Devdas, before whom the petition came up for hearing, ordered issue of notice to the State government. The petition has been filed as the school authorities informed the parents that now they had to introduce Kannada as second language as per government directions.

A direction has been sought from the court to restrain the State government from implementing the KLL Act, 2015, in institutions affiliated to CBSE/ ICSE streams. The petitioner’s school belongs to ICSE stream governed by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination.

The petitioner contended that the KLL Act was contrary to the provisions of the Karnataka Education Act, 1983, which leaves the power of regulating curriculum to the respective boards, either CBSE or ICSE.

It was contended in the petition that the KLL Act “is disproportionate and imposes an undue burden and hardship on the petitioner” and “imposes unreasonable restrictions on their rights under Article 19 and 30 of the Constitution”.

While making Kannada language mandatory to study as either first or second language, the State had lost sight of the fact that a child may be resettled on account of respective parents being transferred, it was pointed out in the petition.

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