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The Supreme Court today issued Notice to the Government of India, Medical Council of India, Dental Council of India and CBSE seeking their response on a Petition to include Urdu in the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medical and dental courses.

Presently, NEET Exams are scheduled to be held in several Indian languages, apart from English, including Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Marathi, Assamese and Bengali etc. The Petitioner have therefore approached Supreme Court with plea that exclusion of Urdu Language is discriminatory and is thus violative of Article 14 of Constitution of India.

The Petitioner, Student Islamic Organisation [SIO] also brought to notice of the Court that Urdu is widely spoken language in the Country and is presently at number six amongst the languages spoken in India. In fact the Urdu Language is also listed in Schedule VIII of the Indian Constitution. It was also mentioned to the Court other languages, which was lower in order in terms of spoken language have been excluded and Urdu has not been included, which is neither justified nor has any rationale.

It was also pointed out to the Court that a large number of students study science in Urdu language and NCERT books are also available in Urdu Language. It is also the case of the Petitioner that Urdu has also been accorded official language status in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi.

In fact some of the states have now made an official request to include Urdu as one of the language for NEET Exams. In reference to Maharashtra, it was pointed out that though Urdu is not a State official language, however, in just 6 out of the 9 divisional  Boards of the Maharashtra State Board of  Secondary and Higher Secondary  Education, the number of junior colleges in  which the medium of instruction is Urdu is  as high as 227. The total number of such junior colleges in the entire state is thus  much higher.

The application form for NEET 2017, scheduled to be held on May 7, is already out and the last date for submission of forms was March 1. The Bench therefore considering the urgency of the matter, agreed to examine the plea and granted one week time to Centre and MCI to respond and adjourned the matter to 10th March 2017. Though on the last occasion, SC had refused to hear the matter on urgent basis and even CBSE had refused to postpone the deadline for NEET registrations.

EduLegaL View:

On first principles, the issue raised seems to be genuine on the issue of “discrimination”.

In fact, medium of instruction is a matter of great debate among teachers, educationists and parents. It is now widely acceptable that the easiest language to learn is the language spoken at home, the mother tongue. Any other language of instruction, may injure the entire learning process.   We should give more importance to our mother tongue.

But for a career pursuit or advanced learning, at a stage, when we have crossed the level of primary and secondary learning, to my mind the language should be one in which it should be possible to promote advance research work in that language, whichever be that language, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali etc.

Ravi Bhardwaj

Education News | Higher Education | Medical Education


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