Stopping grants to aided schools mockery: SC lawyer
June 1, 2012
PANJIM: “Stopping grants to aided schools and forcing them to go with the regional language is a joke and mockery,” senior advocate of the Supreme Court Ashok Agarwal stated when contacted by Herald on Thursday.
Taking forward the view expressed by Professor Afonso Botelho on how denial of right to choose a language infringes on human rights, the legal fraternity has categorically said that the government cannot scuttle the genuine bonafide aspirations of the people to educate their children in the English medium.
“Denial of knowledge is denial of human rights,” says senior advocate of the Supreme Court Ashok Agarwal an RTE activist who is in Goa and has been guiding parents who have been petitioning the High Court over the issue.
Advocate Agarwal who is a renowned practicing lawyer in Delhi today said that any decision taken by the government that is not in the interests of parents wanting to choose the medium of instruction for their wards would be creating an obstruction to providing quality education, the denial of which is more than violating human rights.
Aware of the ground realities in Goa, this senior apex court counsel said that the government should take a decision that will help the future generations to move forward and not backward and should not create a situation which is against the wishes of parents and children.
“Any attempt to force regional languages as medium of instruction can result in student drop outs,” he said adding that children if educated in a language they cannot understand, will not acquire knowledge. “They will be unable to compete with the rest of the world, it will cause frustration and will be detrimental to their growth,” he explained.
Advocate Cleofato Almeida Coutinho, a senior advocate from South Goa also endorsed the view that forcing a medium of instruction is a violation of the fundamental rights vested in parents who wish to provide the right kind of education for their children.
Advocate Cleofato cited various constitutional provisions and those under fundamental rights linked with convention of the United Nations which makes it the duty of a parent to provide the opportunities to educate children between the age of 6-14 in the sphere they think is right for them.
“Forcing upon them, a decision which is against their wishes is definitely a violation of their fundamental rights and duties,” he said.
Raadharao Gracias, lawyer who has been fighting vociferously on the MOI issue said, “It is the intrinsic right of a parent to instruct the child in a language that will further the career of the child.”
“ To deny such a right would amount to denial of basic human rights as also the rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India,” he said.
According to him Article 29 of the Constitution mandates that no citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution “only on grounds of religion, race, caste, language or any of them”. Similarly Article 30 of the Constitution grants the rights to all minorities “based on religion or language to establish and administer educational institution of their choice”. The same article also provides that the “State shall not in granting aid to educational institutions discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority whether based on religion or language”.
“Hence, it is the inherent rights of parents to educate their child in any language of their choice as guaranteed by the Constitution,” he reiterated.