The Madras High Court has directed the State Government to file its counter affidavit in a PIL filed by one Arjunan Elayaraja, seeking to implement the National Education Policy, 2020 in the State of Tamil Nadu.
When the matter came up before the bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy, the court took on record the counter affidavit filed by the Secretary to the Union Ministry of Education. Further, it granted four weeks’ time to the state government to file its counter.
In his affidavit, the Ministry submitted that after the announcement of NEP by the Prime Minister, the Ministry and other implementing agencies under its control have started taking initiatives for the implementation of the Policy. Since Education is an entry in the concurrent list, the States/UT have also been requested to take appropriate measures to implement the Policy in its letter and spirit. The same is being followed up through a series of communications, the details of which were also provided.
As per the affidavit, the Government of India initiated the formulation of the National Education Policy by initiating a consultation process. The three-pronged consultation process was started in January 2015. The online consultation was conducted through MyGov.in portal. Grassroot consultation level was conducted from the village level up to the state level. Thematic expert consultation, and Zonal and National level consultations were also carried out.
It was also submitted that the Ministry of Education (then Ministry of Human Resource Development) had also constituted a 5-member committee for the evolution of the New Education Policy on 31st October 2015 under the chairmanship of late Shri. T.S.R Subramaniam, former cabinet secretary to the government of India, and reports were submitted. The Ministry also formulated “Some Inputs for the Draft National Education Policy” 2016. These were placed before both the houses of the Parliament.
Further, these were also considered by the “Committee for Draft National Education Policy” under the chairmanship of Dr. Kasturirangan and a draft was submitted by Committee in 2019. Based on the draft, an education dialogue was conducted with the MPs of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala, Karnataka, and Odisha.
It was also submitted that meetings were held with the State Education Secretaries of School Education and State Secretaries of Higher and Technical Education. Thus it is after due deliberations that the National Education Policy was finalized and announced.
Previously, the court had opined that there was no harm in teaching Hindi as a third language, as part of NEP. The court had noted that the people of the state were at a disadvantage when they went outside the state without knowing the Hindi language. The Advocate General had submitted that it was the discretion of the state government to take a suitable call.
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