Karnataka is now trying legislation to make Kannada a compulsory language in schools affiliated to the state board. The bill to bring this into effect - the Kannada Language Learning Bill -- was passed in the Karnataka assembly today.
The state is also trying to make Kannada the only medium of instruction at the primary level in government schools. A second bill was passed to this effect which amended the relevant section of the Right to Education Act.
But making Kannada the compulsory medium of instruction in primary classes may be difficult in view of a Supreme Court order that upheld a high court decision negating a similar effort by the state government in 1994.
In its decision last year, the court said the state government could not impose Kannada on linguistic minorities.Calling it a violation of fundamental rights, a five-judge Constitution Bench, said, "The state has no power to compel linguistic minority to impart primary education by compulsorily imposing regional language".
The court had even rejected a revision petition filed by the state government seeking a review of the ruling.
The new amendment, the government is said to expect, will help its argument before the court when another petition on the language policy is taken up for hearing.