The Tuesday’s hearings at Supreme Court over the compulsory English medium G.O. issued by the Andhra Pradesh state government turned interesting with sensational comments exchanged between the senior Advocate K V Viswanathan and Chief Justice of India, S A Bobde.
Vishwanath who is appearing for the Government of Andhra Pradesh opined that students who have studied in vernacular medium find it difficult to argue in the Supreme Court which came as a shock to many in the court including the bench hearing the arguments.
“Lack of English proficiency limits one’s opportunities; creates islands of exclusion”, he submitted emphasising the necessity for advancement in life and opportunities. “I have friends who have studied in the vernacular medium who cannot come and practice in Supreme Court. Because, they first think in vernacular, translate and utter, and by the time the miscellaneous matters will be over,” he further argued.
Objecting his arguments, CJI stated that the advocate is discursively stating that persons who have studied in vernacular are in islands of isolation is something which is uncharitable. CJI commented that India is the only country where education starts in a foreign language other than the child’s mother tongue.
“In most countries, such as Russia, China, France etc, the medium of instruction is the mother tongue,” he added. He then opined that the AP Government should take care that the primary education will be imparted in the mother tongue only.
This said Justice Bobde has postponed the hearing for a week since the petition came afresh before his bench from another bench of the Supreme Court. Further, the CJI did not take any decision on the petitioner’s plea for lifting the stay order issued by the High Court on the G.O.