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Madras High Court
Bala Seva Educational And ... vs The Government Of Tamil Nadu And ... on 17 December, 1997
Equivalent citations: (1998) 1 MLJ 570
Author: S Subramani

ORDER S.S. Subramani, J.

1. Petitioner seeks issuance of writ of certiorarified mandamus, calling for the records Comprised in the proceedings of the 1st respondent's Lr. No. 13655/J1/97-4, dated 13.8.1997, and quash the same in so far as it relates to petitioner-Shanmuga College of Engineering is concerned, and consequently direct the respondents to accord minority status to the petitioner institution.

2. The petitioner applied to the 1st respondents on 25.6.1997, seeking minority status, viz., as a linguistic minority institution as all the trustees were all versed in Sanskrit and were committed to the cause of establishing Sanskrit as an important means of communication and in view of its intrinsic capability of being adopted to the modern technology. The petitioner also attached a copy of the certificate issued by the Revenue Divisional officer, Thanjavur, certifying that the petitioner Trust has established the shanmuga college of Engineering at Thirumalai Samudram, Thanjavur Taluk, for the benefit and upliftment of Sanskrit speaking community in Tamil Nadu, It is also said that the other statutory requirements are also satisfied.

3. The grievance of the petitioner is that when it was expecting a favourable order from the 1st respondent, on 13.8.1997, it was informed by the impugned letter that the claim is rejected, on the ground that the Sanskrit language has ceased to be in use. The petitioner challenges the validity of the impugned order on various grounds.

4. It is said that even now the All India Radio as well as Television broadcast the news in Sanskrit. Presidential awards are conferred to Sanskrit scholar. Even cinematographic films are produced in Sanskrit. It is further found that the most ideal language for use in computers is Sanskrit. It is said that even judicial decisions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court are relying on Bhagavad Gita, which is in Sanskrit language only and not on a judicial precedent. It is said that Indian culture, philosophy and behavioral setting the tenor in constitution, are all based on Sanskrit language, and the 1st respondent is ignorant of the various decisions of the Supreme Court, how it has given great encomium to Sanskrit language. It is said that the reasons stated in the, impugned order that the language has ceased to be in use is nothing but an ignorant of what is happening around the world, and a refusal to recognise the reality. It is also said the the respondents might be biased towards the language, and the reasons referred to in the impugned order are not legally supported, the petitioner states that the impugned order is liable to be quashed, and necessary direction must be given to recognise the petitioner institution as a minority institution.

5. A detailed counter-affidavit has been filed, supporting the impugned order. It is said that the petitioner has not established that the institution has been brought into being by a minority community, and the petitioner has not proved that the members of the Trust of the Institution from its inception belong to a mi-nority community whose mother tongue is Sanskrit. It is also said that having knowledge of Sanskrit will not make a person of a minority community, and therefore, the impugned order is correct.

6. After having heard both the counsel, I feel that the impugned order cannot stand for a moment.

7. The only reason stated in the impugned order, re-jecting the petitioner's application, reads thus:

8. According to the 1st respondent, Sanskrit language has ceased to be in use, and therefore, the petitioner's application do not require consideration. The said reasoning is nothing but ignorance of reality. Counsel for the petitioner brought to my notice the report of the Sanskrit Commission 1956-57. paragraph 96 of the Report is relevant for our consideration, which reads thus:

96. In the course of our tours in South India, we interviewed several non-Brahmains in high position and active in public life, business, etc., and we found them all favourable to Sanskrit. In Madras city itself, we found that, both in the recognised schools and private classes, non-Brahmains and even a few Muslims and Christians, studied Sanskrit. In one of the High Schools of Chidambaram, a Muslim student was reported to have stood first in Sanskrit, and in another school, there were Harijans among the Sanskrit students. In Chidambaram we were glad to find a group of leading non-Brahmain merchants of the town who appeared before us for interview as staunch supporters of Sanskrit education and cul-ture. In Tanjore also we were told by the Head-masters and Sanskrit teachers of local schools that non-Brahmains, Muslims and Christians freely took Sanskrit. It was again the non-brahmains, particularly the great benefactors belonging to the Chettiar community, who had, in the recent past, endowed many pathasalas for veda and Sanskrit. As we moved pathasalas for veda and Sanskrit. As we moved among the people, in the temples and the streets, in public and private meetings, we found that, in Tamil Nadu, the antipathy towards Sanskrit was confined to a section trying to make political capital out of it, and that it was strongly organised and effectively expressed. Several Sanskrit lecturers and teachers represented to us that, when Sanskrit versus were sung in prayer or any Sanskrit feature was presented in public functions in the colleges and the schools, a section of the student population started jeering and booing. Such things, along with certain ad-ministrative measures coming one after another, have been slowly pushing Sanskrit to the wall in this part of the country. It is, indeed, an irony of fate that this should be the situation in a region to which the rest of India used to look up as a vertical asylum of Indian culture and traditional learning. The anxiety which the people here felt about the future of Sanskrit was clearly borne out by the fact that Madras sent the largest number of replies to our questionnaire.

9. In paragraph 98 of the report, it is stated that "the members of the committee noticed everywhere an unmistakable awaking of the cultural consciousness of the people, and a keep awareness of the impor-tance of Sanskrit among people at large, and the members also realised that a complete picture of the situation regarding Sanskrit could not be had only by visiting schools, colleges, Universities and pathasalas, and for outside these educational institutions, there is a network of voluntary organisations in the country. "In paragraph 99 of the report, it is said that 'in almost all cities and important towns there are Privately organised associations for the promotion of Sanskrit."

10. In a decision of Supreme Court reported in Santosh Kumar and Ors. v. Secretary, Ministry of Human Resources Development and Anr. , their Lordships have considered the importance of Sanskrit language and in paragraph 13 of the judgment, their Lordships extracted the speech of the first Prime Minister of the country Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, as below:

If I was asked what is the greatest treasure which India possesses and what is her finest heritage, I could answer unhesitatingly it is the Sanskrit lan-guage and literature, and it is the Sanskrit lan-guage and literature, and all that it contains. This is a magnificient inheritance, and so long as this endures and influences the life of out people, so long the basic genius of India will continue.

Their Lordships also said that "Sanskrit is a mother of all IndoAryan Languages and it is this language in which our vedas, puranas and Upanishads have been written and in which Kalidas, Bhavbuti, Banabhatta, and Dandi wrote their classics. Teachings of Shankaracharya, Ramanuja, Madhawacharya, Nimbark and Vallabhacharya would not have been woven into the fabric of Indian culture, if Sanskrit would not have been available to them as a medium of expressing their thoughts. " Their Lordships also commented the report of the Sanskrit commission, referred to above, and also how the Government of India has taken a policy for implementing Sanskrit and propagation. It was further noted that 'for the purpose of propagating secularism, Sanskrit language has played a part and continues to play. "

11. Suffice it to say that the 1st respondent has not considered any of the above facts, and simply says that the Sanskrit is a dead language. It cannot be true in view of the various pronouncements of the Hon'b'le Supreme Court. I hold that the Sanskrit language is not a dead language as found, which is the only reason for rejecting the petitioner's application.

12. Consequently, the impugned order is quashed and I direct the respondents to reconsider the entire matter and pass final orders on the petitioner's application within a period of one month from the date of receipt of a copy of this order. The writ petition is allowed to the extent stated above, without any order as to costs. Consequently, no further orders are necessary in the connected W.M. Ps.