NEW DELHI: The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that Sanskrit or any modern…
New Delhi, (PTI/TNN): The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre over replacing German with Sanskrit as a third language in Kendriya Vidyalayas, which fall under Smriti Irani’s Ministry of Human Resources Development.
The apex court notice came even as Irani defended the controversial decision. “As far as students are concerned, they are free to choose any Indian language and German is being taught as a foreign language,” she said on Friday, calling the Memorandum of Understanding under which the Kendriya Vidyalayas taught German as a “violation of the Constitution”.
“As per Schedule 8 (of the Constitution), 22 languages were available which did not include German. This MoU was presenting German as third language,” Irani said, adding, “I took oath of the constitution when I became HRD Minister, couldn’t allow for violation of constitution.”
The apex court notice came a day after Sanskrit Bharati – a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh outfit – asked the government to implement the same policy in all CBSE-affiliated schools across the country.
Senior RSS member Dinesh Kamath, who heads the Sanskrit Bharati, said his outfit will carry an agitation if CBSE schools do not stop teaching foreign languages as a third language and instead implement Sanskrit till Class XII. He said the organisation will conduct Sanskrit conferences in 500 districts across the country to campaign for the ancient language.
Meanwhile, another outfit called Sanskrit Shikshak Sangh – the group that took the matter to court, eventually prompting the HRD Ministry’s decision – on Thursday said that its next move will be to make all other schools drop foreign languages as the third language.
Last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel flagged the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Australia.
German Ambassador to India, Michael Steiner, also met members of the Sanskrit teachers body that included RSS ideologue Dinanath Batra, who is best known for getting American scholar Wendy Doniger’s ‘The Hindus’ banned in India as well as authoring a series of controversial textbooks for schools in Gujarat and other BJP-run states.
The Centre’s decision to scrap German in Kendriya Vidyalayas has affected over 70,000 students who now have less than four months to begin a new academic year and switch from German to Sanskrit. The job of 700 German teachers is also at stake.