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Sunil K.R. Sahastrabudhey Vs. Director, I.i.T., Kanpur - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ Petn. No. 1026 of 1979
Judge
Reported inAIR1982All398
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 19(1), 226, 345 and 351; Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 - Sections 38
AppellantSunil K.R. Sahastrabudhey
RespondentDirector, I.i.T., Kanpur
Appellant AdvocateR.B. Mehrotra and ;D.S. Misra, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateN.B. Singh, Adv.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredIn Ajai Kumar v. Union of India
Excerpt:
.....during this period. 1979, recommended that the thesis be submitted in hindi provided it was accompanied by an english translation authenticated by the thesis..........and article 351 of the constitution lays down as a duty on the union to promote the spread of hindi language to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of india, but there is no right conferred on any citizen to compel an institution to impart education in that particular language.13. nothing could be shown to us that the ordinance ix, referred to above, is ultra vires the constitution. the ordinance had been framed by the indian institute of technology, kharagpur, in exercise of the powers conferred by section 38(c) of the act. the said institute had laid down english as the medium of instruction which was adopted by the kanpur institute of technology. till that ordinance was amended, it is not possible to hold that.....
Judgment:

K.C. Agarwal, J.

1. By this petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution, the petitioner has sought the relief of Certiorari for quashing the order of the Director, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, dated 11th Oct. 1979 (Annexure '5') requiring the petitioner to submit his thesis in English instead of in Hindi, and further for a Writ of Mandamus directing the respondent to admit the petitioner's thesis submitted in Hindi and to award him the Ph. D Degree.

2. In the month of July 1971, the petitioner, after obtaining M. Sc. Degree in Chemistry, joined Ph. D programme in Chemistry, in the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. The petitioner, thereafter, applied for admission in Ph. D. programme in Humanities Social Sciences.' He was admitted in the Semester beginning from Dec. 1971. At the end of each semester, he appeared for the examination and could pass the same to continue the programme by the end of the 4th semester. Throughout, his medium of instruction was English. The question papers were also set in English, and the petitioner answered them in English. Thereafter, in accordance with the procedure of the Institute, the petitioner appeared for the comprehensive examination, which was also held in English. He answered the questions in English and did not raise any objection for being permitted to answer them to Hindi. After qualifying himself in the comprehensive examination, the petitioner, according to the prescribed procedure, had to prepare a thesis in consultation with the Department of post Graduate Committee (hereinafter referred to as D. P. G. C.). Dr. (Mrs.) Mul-lick was appoited as his guide/supervisor.

3. After having been in the programme for five and half years, the petitioner made an application on Aug. 3, 1977, to the Director through the Head of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences for continuation of financial assistance. The application was forwarded by the Head of the Department on the recommendation of Dr. (Mrs.) Mullick, who was the guide of the petitioner.

4. The period for submission of the thesis was extended from time to time. For deciding the controversy raised in this petition, it is not necessary to refer to those extensions, hence the same are not being mentioned. It appears that the petitioner again applied for extension of time. On the application, the petitioner's guide made the following remarks:

'Convener D. P. G. C- has recommended that an extension be granted since the thesis is indeed nearing completion but in Hindi. The status of such thesis is still unclear to me.

Sd/- Mrs. Mullick.'

5. It was for the first time that the guide of the petitioner notified that the petitioner was writing his thesis in Hindi. The application for extension was although recommended by D. P. G. C. to the Senate Post Graduate Committee (hereinafter referred to as the S. P. G. C), but the petitioner was intimated that the medium of Ph. D. thesis was English, which was in consonance with the decision of S. P. G. C. taken in the meeting held on Dec. 4 and 5, 1978. The S. P. G. C. in its meeting held on Aug. 22, 1979, extended the term by one more semester. This decision was communicated to the petitioner by the Convener of the D. P. G. C. by the letter dated 1-9-1979 This decision clearly stated that the petitioner had been given the last extension on the understanding that he would submit the thesis in English during this period. He was warned that if this was not done, the petitioner would be deemed to have withdrawn from the Institute.

6. The controversy about submitting the thesis in Hindi came before the Education Policy Committee on the reference made by the Chairman, S. P. G. C. The Education Policy Com-mittee, after discussing at its meeting held on 16th Mar. 1979, recommended that the thesis be submitted in Hindi provided it was accompanied by an English translation authenticated by the Thesis Supervisor. In view of the decision of the S. P. G. C., the petitioner's guide withdrew herself and expressed her inability to continue as such unless the petitioner changed the medium of writing to English. For the first on 24th Sept. 1979, the petitioner wrote a letter to the Director seeking his intervention to be allowed to submit his thesis in Hindi. This letter was replied by the Director on Oct. 11, 1979, copy of which has been filed as Annexure '5' to the writ petition. The petitioner was informed that the S. P. G. C.'s decision of requiring the petitioner to submit the thesis in English was based on the following considerations:--

'As desired by S. P. G. C. (1977-78), the matter regarding submission of thesis in the medium of Hindi was discussed. The Committee noted the several aspects that should be taken into account in arriving at a decision on the issue and accordingly felt that the matter may be brought to the attention of the Chairman, Senate, for referring it to an appropriate body. The Committee also decided that pending a decision on the issue, any applicant with a request for submission of a thesis in Hindi or in languages other than English will be informed that a thesis can be submitted only in the medium of English.'

7. It was pointed out to the petitioner that when he joined the programme he was fully aware that the medium of instruction was English. Neither in the Department nor in the office of the Post Graduate Committee, the petitioner ever expressed his desire to submit the thesis in Hindi. The petitioner had since not been given the permission to write the thesis in Hindi, the petitioner had no justification to make a request for submission of thesis in Hindi,

8. The petitioner, thereafter, filed the present writ petition for the reliefs, mentioned above.

9. The writ petition was contested by the respondent and the claim of the petitioner for submission of the thesis in Hindi was disputed. The plea taken in the counter-affidavit was that the petitioner's writ was belated, mala fide,and based on concealment of material facts.

10. At this juncture, it may be pointed out that the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, of which the petitioner is a student, was established as an institute of national importance under Institutes of Technology Act (Act 59 of 1961). Section 38(c) provides that unless the first statutes and ordinances are made under the Act, the statutes and ordinances of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, as in force immediately before the commencement of the Act, shall apply to the institute. Ordinance IX framed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, at the relevant time laid down that :

'Medium of Instruction -- The medium of instruction shall at all levels be English.'

No ordinance has been passed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, modifying the Ordinance of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, providing for any other medium of instruction.

11. The argument of the learned, counsel for the petitioner was that he had a fundamental right to submit his thesis in Hindi and that he could not be forced to submit the same in English, According to the counsel, the Ordinance laying down that the medium of instruction at all levels in the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, was English, was in contravention of the Constitution, hence was void.

12. The Article of the Constitution relied upon by the petitioner is Article 19(1)(a), which provides that all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression. It is from this right of expression that the counsel urged that the petitioner had the right to submit his thesis in Hindi. The right of expression conferred by Article 19(1)(a) cannot be extended to the conferment of right on a citizen to read and study in a particular language that he wants. The right of expression has a different meaning and is not open for being adopted in the language other than that which is the medium of instruction in the College where admission is sought. Reference in this connection may be made to Articles 29 and 30. Article 29 protects the interest of minority. Article 30(1) says that all minorities, based on religion or language, shall havethe right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. This implies the right of a minority community to impart education or instruction to the children of its own community in the institutions run by it and in its own language and if such right is infringed, an institution run by the community may seek relief for violation of any fundamental right. Although Hindi is the national language of India and Article 351 of the Constitution lays down as a duty on the Union to promote the spread of Hindi language to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India, but there is no right conferred on any citizen to compel an institution to impart education in that particular language.

13. Nothing could be shown to us that the Ordinance IX, referred to above, is ultra vires the Constitution. The Ordinance had been framed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 38(c) of the Act. The said Institute had laid down English as the medium of instruction which was adopted by the Kanpur Institute of Technology. Till that Ordinance was amended, it is not possible to hold that the petitioner had a right to submit his thesis in Hindi. When the petitioner joined the Institute, he knew that English was the medium of instruction. His claim for entitlement to submit his thesis in Hindi is not borne out from any of the provisions of the Constitution. Whether or not the petitioner ought to have been permitted to submit his thesis in Hindi, when the same had been accepted as the national language, is a political question. For not permitting the petitioner to submit his thesis in Hindi a number of difficulties have been set forth in the counter-affidavit. One may or may not agree with the pleas taken in the counter-affidavit, but the same is beyond the power of judicial review, and the Court is therefore, not in a position to give any direction in that regard. Maybe, that the difficulties pointed out were not insurmountable.

14. Counsel for the petitioner placedreliance on a decision of this Court inPrabandhak Samiti v. Zila VidyalayaNirikshak, Allahabad, (AIR 1977 All164). In that case, the controversy raised was about the right of a person to file a writ petition in Hindi in Deonagri Script in the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad. The High Court held that after the notification issued under Article 348(2) the petitioner had a right to file a petition in Hindi in Deonagri script. This case was not concerned with the controversy which has arisen for decision before us. It is true that Hindi is undoubtedly most widely understood language in India, but that is not the ground on which we can interfere.

15. The next case relied upon is reported in Union of India v. Murasoli Maran (AIR 1977 SC 225). In this case, the presidential Order had been issued for the purposes of promoting the spread of Hindi language, and to provide the Central Government employees the facility to take training in Hindi language when they are in service. The petitioner in this case challenged the validity of the presidential Order, which challenge was upheld by the High Court but on appeal preferred against the said decision, the judgment of the High Court was reversed and it was said that the Presidential Order did not take away anything from the Government employees. The prizes offered were merely incentives. Those incentives were in consonance with Article 344 of the Constitution. This case again was on a point which has no resemblance with the point arising for decision before us.

16. In R. R. Dalavai v. State of Tamil Nadu (AIR 1976 SC 1559) the Supremo Court reversed the judgment of the Madras High Court which had upheld a Government Order granting pension to anti-Hindi agitators. The Supreme Court found that the pension scheme contemplating pension to anti-Hindi agitators contained vice of disintegration and fis-siparous tendencies. While deciding the aforesaid appeal, the Supreme Court placed reliance on Article 351 and pointed out that Article 351 laid down that it shall be the duty of the Union Government to promote the spread of Hindi language whereas the pension scheme envisaged by the Tamil Nadu Government was in violation of the said Article and was thus ultra vires. This is not a case giving us any assistance in deciding the controversy involved in the present case.

17. In Ajai Kumar v. Union of India (1980 LIC NOC 84), a Division Bench of this Court was required to consider the validity of the change of policy by the Union of India invented for Auditors' Recruitment Examination. On 6th Jan. 1976, the Union of India withdrew the facility granted under notification dated 19-5-1973 permitting the optional use of Hindi as medium for answering the General English Paper and requiring the same to be answered in English. This challenge had been made on the ground of being violative to Article 351 of the Constitution. The Division Bench repelled the challenge holding that the Union of India could withdraw the concession granted in 1973. Article 351 was found as having not said anything which debarred the Union to revise its administrative policies in regard to disposal of official business. This case is of some assistance to us in resolving the controversy against the petitioner.

18. From a review of the provisions cited before us, we are of the opinion that Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution deal with cultural and educational rights of the minorities. Article 45 of the Constitution provides that the State shall make endeavour to provide for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of 14 years, but there is nothing in the Constitution laying down that any one has a fundamental right to be taught in any particular language where he is admitted. Article 345 provides that the State can adopt by legislation any one or more of the languages for use in the State or Hindi as the language or languages to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the State. Under this Article, therefore, that language which is adopted by the State must be used for official purposes. The mere fact of adopting a language by a State as the Official language would not entitle any student to receive education in that language and not in the one which is the medium of instruction adopted by the institution. Although Hindi has been declared as the national language, no student getting education in an institution run under a Central Act can force the institution to impart education to him in Hindi in Deonagri script. It is for the Government concerned to make suitable amendments in the law which may compel the institution to impart education in the national Ilanguage.

19. For the reasons given above, the writ petition fails and is dismissed. The stay order is discharged. In the circumstances, we direct the parties to bear their own costs.


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