Thursday, May 28, 2009

Medium: Govt faces contempt

Medium: Govt faces contempt
Nandini Chandrashekhar, Bangalore, DH News Service:
Thursday, May 28, 2009, 1:30 [IST]

The Karnataka government is clearly looking for a confrontation over the English medium issue although it is certain that there is no legal basis for its inaction.

Legal experts say that when the State government could not obtain a stay from the Supreme Court against the full bench order of the High Court, there is absolutely no ground for the government not to entertain applications from the schools seeking permission to conduct classes in English medium.

Advocate Sreekanth, who is representing about six schools, categorically said that the government’s stand clearly points to contempt of court.

“There is a full bench order of the High Court. The Supreme Court received the Special Leave Petition of the High Court, but refused to grant a stay order on the full bench’s judgment. So automatically, it has to revert to the High Court order. If that is not done, then it amounts to contempt of court,” says Sreekanth.

He said he would file the contempt case on Thursday.

A key senior advocate, whose words the government values, said the State’s ploy was typically the one used to prevent implementing the decisions that have gone its stand.

No ground

“Legally speaking, there is no ground for the government not to adopt the full bench order of the High Court. But these things are politically sensitive and motivated. The government can always say they are waiting for further hearing of the Supreme Court. This approach is not new,” a source commented.

Incidentally, the case in the Supreme Court will be heard only after the vacation, which ends on June 9, well after the academic year begins.

More cases

Meanwhile, the contempt of court cases against the government are only bound to increase. While two cases have already been filed by school associations, more are expected to be filed by individual schools.

Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association president G S Sharma said he expected a hearing in a day or two on the contempt of court case filed by their association.

On a lighter note, Sharma said the Education Department lacked good legal advisors, for otherwise they would have seen the folly of disregarding a court order.

As usual, it is the students and parents who stand to lose in this tussle. Classes begin on June 1, and some schools are going ahead with conducting classes in English medium, in accordance with the High Court order.

But that is unlikely to provide any succour to the anxious parents who have been forced to live in absolute indecision over the fate of their children and schools.

Even a clear order of the High Court giving the child and the parents the right to decide the medium of instruction at the primary level has proved insufficient to convince the government to abide by it.


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