TODAY -

HC issues notice
Source: The Sangai Express / Newmai News Network

Imphal, July 19 2019: The Division Bench of the High Court of Manipur on Friday issued a notice to the "State authorities" concerning a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the Council of Tribal Language & Literature Societies, Manipur (CTLLSM) through Advocate J Hillson, according to a press note issued by Ragongning Gangmei, president of the CTLLSM.

The PIL was moved before the High Court of Manipur praying for directing the State to provide facilities for instruction in the vernacular mother tongue in the primary stage of education as guaranteed under Article 350 (A) of the Constitution of India and the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, the CTLLSM said.

According to the CTLLSM statement, out of 35 tribal communities in Manipur, the State Government has approved 18 (eighteen) tribal languages for introduction into the school education system.

After the approval, the tribal languages were left "uncared" for without allocating necessary funds, it also said.

"In fact, the funds for development of tribal languages have never been reflected in the State budget since its inception", the CTLLSM pointed out.

It alleged that the text books and other basic facilities needed for the tribal language education are not being provided by the State Government.

"Hence, the Literature Societies of the concerned tribal languages take the responsibility of developing the school textbooks and print them at their own expense by taking soft loan from the well-wishers," it said.

In the absence of State patronage, the school textbooks are being sold to the students at certain rate fixed by the literature societies concerned in order to repay the soft loan and also for the sustenance of the literature societies, the statement further said.

"This is in clear violation of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 which guarantees free education including free textbooks until the completion of elementary school," it added.

According to the CTLLSM, the State Government has not appointed any teacher for teaching the tribal languages in Manipur.

"Few language teachers were recently appointed but none of them were utilized for teaching the tribal languages nor were they given any training in tribal languages," it pointed out.

It then said that the State Government created the Directorate of Language Planning and Implementation, an autonomous department under the Department of Education, to look into matters concerning all languages in Manipur, "but nothing has been done by the department for development of tribal language so far except in one instance where Rs 6 lakh was allocated for the 18 approved languages, which was an insult or mockery to the tribal language education".

Considering the need for evolving a State policy in order to safeguard and promote the tribal languages of the State, on November 16, 2010 the Hill Areas Committee, Manipur Legislative Assembly adopted the draft Bill of "Manipur State Policy of Tribal Languages" .

Thereafter, on November 18, 2010 the draft Bill was forwarded to the State Government for necessary action.

However, no positive action was taken by the State Government to introduce the said Bill, the CTLLSM also pointed out.

According to the CTLLSM statement, the petitioner submitted several representations to the authorities concerned for taking necessary actions for implementing the Constitutional provisions to safeguard tribal language/linguistic minorities in the State of Manipur but no positive steps were taken by the State Government.

"Being aggrieved with the apathy of the State Government, who has miserably failed to provide basic facilities for instructions in mother tongue at the school education, the apathy of the State Government amounts to violation of various Constitutional rights of the tribal students such as, right to education, right to safeguard the linguistic minorities and their cultures etc.", it added.


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