It’s Official - Telugu is a classical language, Telugites wins the case in Madras High Court

10 August 2016

End of 8-year battle, Telugites must be happy to see an eight-year-old battle has come to an end.

To recap, soon after the Central government granted the “Ancient Classical Language” status to Telugu and Kannada in 2008, a Chennai based Senior Advocate, R. Gandhi filed a petition in the High Court challenging the decision of the Central Government stating that as an undue decision in the grant of status to these languages. The petitioner argued that the prominence of the Tamil language would be lost if it was treated on par with other languages that had been conferred classical status. The bench did not accept the petitioner’s debate and said that “We do not agree with the petitioner. The prominence of a language would not OR should not depend on the development or fall of any other language.”

And also the court, through an interim order, said “any decision taken by the committee set up by the Central government to consider grant of classical language status would be subject to the decision on the writ petition”. With this, Mr. Gandhi moved further and launched one more PIL in 2015 challenging the decision to confer the status for Malayalam and Odia language.

Now, coming to the present, Quoting the American author Oliver Wendell Holmes, who has said, “Every language is a temple, in which the soul of those who speak it is enshrined,” the Madras High Court on disposed of a batch of public interest litigation petitions which challenged the classical language status presented to Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Odia. The First Bench of Chief Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice R. Mahadevan made it clear that only experts can verify whether the languages satisfy the norms set for according the classical status or not but not the courts. The Bench added that the court should not be converted into a forum for debate on such matters. If the petitioner still felt that the particulars furnished by the respective States would not satisfy the criteria, the Bench said: “It is open to them to approach the respective authorities. Similarly, they can also give proposals for determination of the type of literature that can be the benchmark for qualification for consideration to the concerned authorities. Former chairman of the Andhra Pradesh Official Language Commission and veteran journalist A.B.K. Prasad with a winning happiness, shared his effort in this regard that when he was the Chairman of the Official Language Commission, he filed a counter along with a Karnataka lawyer in the Madras High Court after gathering all the documents which strengthen our case against Mr. Gandhi’s petition. Various political leaders, artists, poets and other eminent personalities from both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana States expressed their happiness in winning the case thanked the court’s verdict which has granted Telugu as an Ancient Classical Language.

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