The Supreme Court is going to listen to the request for a waiver of the Tamil paper in the TN SSLC Board Exam on February 6th.

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The Supreme Court has recently determined to review the ruling of the Madras High Court that declined to annul the regulations for allowing students to be excused from taking the Tamil language paper in Class 10 board exams. The Apex court will review the plea on February 6, 2023, as reported. The hearing of the case was conducted by a bench of Justices S K Kaul and A S Oka on Monday.

In September 2019, the High Court ruled that the government’s letter of July 18, 2016, detailing the prerequisites for students to be exempted from writing the Tamil language paper in the 10th standard board examination, could not be overturned. Nonetheless, the High Court mandated the applicable authorities to grant students in linguistic minority schools exemption from the Tamil language paper in the 10th for the 2020-2022 academic years.

Supreme Court to Examine High Court’s Order 

The Supreme Court was reported to have referred to the High Court ruling and stated that an exemption has been allowed for the 2020-2022 academic years. The bench asked the lawyer from Tamil Nadu whether the state will provide an exemption to recognised linguistic minorities. The Court scheduled a hearing for February 6 and commented that arrangements might have to be made for 2023 as well, seeing as the High Court order had exempted 2020-2022.

Plea filed in Apex Court by Linguistic Minorities Forum of Tamil Nadu 

In their petition to the Supreme Court, the Linguistic Minorities Forum of Tamil Nadu has stated that the significant legal issue being presented to the court is whether the rights of linguistic minorities protected by the Constitution can be disregarded by the state through the implementation of a state law that makes Tamil a mandatory language and thus prevents the students of minority languages from learning their native tongue.

The appeal pointed out that the instructions issued on July 18, 2016 essentially had a dictatorial nature, as it denied language minorities of the state the right to be exempt from taking the Tamil language paper in the 10th grade public examination.

Guidelines For Granting Exemption to Students from Giving Tamil Language Paper

The High Court observed that specific rules were established for the timeline and criteria for qualification for exemption from taking the Tamil language under paper-I for the SSLC board examination 2017. It was noted that, in accordance with the guidelines, only those students who had relocated from other states were eligible to submit an application for exemption.

The letter declared that students whose parents have moved to Tamil Nadu during the academic year and have not had the opportunity to learn Tamil as a language in their previous state of residence are eligible to make an application for exemption from writing Tamil in the 10th standard board examination.

Mayank Tewari

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