HC: Gujarati Must If Schools Want To Operate In Gujarat

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HC: Gujarati Must If Schools Want To Operate In Gujarat

| Updated: January 20, 2023 14:00

In a PIL case hearing in December, the Gujarat High Court upheld that schools affiliated to Central Boards such as CBSE and ICSE “cannot refuse to implement the state government policy of teaching the local language as one of the mandatory subjects in Classes I to VIII.”

In pursuance of the same matter, the HC, Thursday noted that it is concerned about the same not being adhered to. The two-judge bench comprising Justice Sonia Gokani and Justice Sandeep Bhatt directed the government to submit its list of requirements for a no-objection certificate to schools that wish to operate in Gujarat. 

The PIL was filed in October last year by NGO Matrubhasha Abhiyan seeking the HC’s direction to the state government “to ensure the Government Resolution of 2018 is implemented in its true letter and spirit so as to introduce the Gujarati language as one of the mandatory subjects in primary schools from Standard 1 to 8”.

The petitioner had said primary schools, especially those affiliated to CBSE, ICSE, and IB Boards, were not offering Gujarati as a subject in the curriculum despite there being a policy in place. 

The state government, in response, had said it was collecting data from all districts to find out about non-complying schools.

The HC stressed on implementation of the policy stating that “stringent mechanism must be put in place to ensure penal action in case of non-compliance with the 2018 directive.”

Earlier, during the December hearing, a government pleader sought to convey that the issue had come up mainly because schools affiliated with other boards, such as CBSE, “have their own curriculum,” Justice Gokani opined that such schools or boards cannot refuse to implement the policy on Gujarati.

“Don’t feel helpless. Because you are the state and it is your policy. And, it is meant to preserve something which all of us know needs to be preserved and all states are doing this by making statutory provisions for it,” Justice Gokani had observed.

“You (government) need to make it clear to them (schools) that they have to implement this policy. Otherwise, what consequences will follow is up to you to decide. Boards can have their own curriculum but they can’t say no to this policy. If they need to operate in Gujarat, they will have to do that,” the court upheld. 

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