The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain a plea seeking a direction to the Centre, the states, and union territories to make Hindi compulsory for students of class I-VIII across the country to promote ‘national unity’.
Taking note of the fact that petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay was a spokesperson of the BJP's Delhi chapter, a bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar asked, "Why does he not ask his party to do it? He belongs to the governing party. He is part of the government."
The bench, which also comprised Justices DY Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, said the people speaking other languages may also start asking why their languages are not being taught, and added that the government could look into it.
The bench also did not allow the plea of Upadhyay, who is also an advocate, that he would withdraw the plea and let it be treated as a representation to the central government.
"We will not say anything. You withdraw it," it said.
Updhayay, in his plea, had referred to constitutional provisions and the non-execution of the three-language formula enunciated in the 1968 National Policy Resolution by the Centre in consultation with the states.
The plea said the three-language formula provided for the study of Hindi, English and a modern Indian language in Hindi-speaking states, and Hindi, English and a regional language in the non-Hindi speaking states, with it still not being implemented.
Ashwini Kumar Updhayay’s pleaIn order to promote fraternity, assuring dignity of individual and unity and national integration, study of Hindi should be compulsory for all the students of I-VIII standard through the country...
It said the 1968 policy, adopted by Parliament, was framed in response to the demands from non-Hindi-speaking states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. However, all these states have not followed the three-language formula till date, it claimed.
Public servants and judges of higher judiciary, who have studied regional languages, find it difficult to read, write and speak Hindi while serving in Hindi-speaking states, it contended.