DELHI: The Supreme Court of India rejected a plea to declare Sanskrit as a national language today.
Giving a language "national" status is a policy decision that needs a Constitutional amendment and is not mandated by the court, a bench comprising of Justice MR Shah and Krishna Murari rejected the petition.
"For a language to be elevated to the level of national language the Constitution has to be amended and no writ can be issued to the parliament to declare a language as national", the apex court quoted.
The bench also questioned the petitioner on his knowledge of Sanskrit and if he could recite a shloka to which the petitioner had no answer. The petitioner is a retired IAS Officer. The bench also said that the number of cities in India speaking Sanskrit is very negligible for it to be given the rank of a national language.
It is to be noted here that in 2010, Uttarakhand became the first state in India to have Sanskrit as its second official language. In 2019, Himachal Pradesh became the second state to have Sanskrit as the second official language.
The plea sought a direction from the central government to declare Sanskrit as a national language saying that doing so will not disturb the current constitutional provisions which provide for English and Hindi to be national languages.
Sanskrit was proposed by Dr BR Ambedkar to be the "official national language" in the constituent assembly and was also backed by some of the Brahmin members but hardly one per cent of the national population spoke Sanskrit at that time and it was a ritual language which is memorized and was not a kitchen language.
The case is still the same today with only about 24000 speaking the ancient language.
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