Calcutta, April 7: The West Bengal Higher Secondary Council today appealed before a division bench of Calcutta High Court against an order of a trial bench of the same court that English should not be made a compulsory subject in the higher secondary examination.
The “question of justification or the propriety of making English a compulsory subject at the higher secondary level is a matter of legislation based on the policy decision of the state and not a fit subject of judicial review by the court”, said the petition.
Justice Barin Ghosh, while delivering a judgment on December 19, had made an observation on the council’s order making English a compulsory subject in the higher secondary examination. Justice Ghosh had directed the council to go in for a rethink on the issue.
The council, “aggrieved” and “dissatisfied” with the judgment, today filed a petition before a larger bench of the court, demanding that the verdict be set aside in the interest of students. The verdict of the trial court would “create confusion and cause serious prejudice in the council in the matter of higher secondary examinations in the future”, said the petition filed by the council.
The direction of the trial court “on the question of need, propriety and or justification for making English a compulsory subject under the statutory regulations of the council are totally irrelevant, unwarranted”, said the council. It demanded that the division bench “expunge” the earlier verdict.
“Whether English as a subject should be kept and taught in the higher secondary course was a highly controversial subject and public opinion in the said question is very much not only in favour of making English a compulsory subject in the higher secondary examination, but also providing English as a subject be taught at the primary level,” contended the petitioner.
“The entire discussion by Justice Ghosh in the said judgment on the issue of continuing English as compulsory subject in the higher secondary level is not only academic but also relates to the policy decision of the council based on the views of the general public,” added the council.
It said the myth of English being too difficult a subject for many students to pass is incorrect, claimed the council. By improving the quality of teaching, students of the schools concerned can improve their performance in the subject, it pointed out.
Describing the verdict as “excess of jurisdiction” by the judge, the petitioner prayed that the judgment be reversed.
Justice Ghosh had delivered the judgment on a plea by Rituparna Chatterjee, a candidate of last year’s higher secondary examination who had failed in English in 2000, 2001 and 2002. The candidate made a plea that English and Bengali be segregated in the higher secondary examination where qualifying marks in the language concerned is essential.
The council in its petition today stated that the petitioner had no legitimate grievance against the marks allotted to her in English in 2000, 2001 and 2002. “So the judge should reject the petition as misconceived and unwarranted,” it stated.
After the publication of the results of last year’s higher secondary examination, many candidates sought Calcutta High Court’s intervention. In a number of cases, the court had directed the council’s lawyers to produce the answer scripts of certain papers before the court, as had been requested by the petitioners.
In some cases the marks were increased after scrutiny. But Rituparna, after failing in English in three consecutive years, had prayed before the trail court that the council be directed not to continue English as subject that the candidates have to pass.