Maintaining its opposition to "imposition" of Hindi in the state, the Tamil Nadu government directed two universities on Thursday not to implement the UGC circular and said the decision taken by the previous UPA government would not be binding on it.
Chief minister Jayalalithaa said the move, amounting to "imposing Hindi", had been initiated during the previous government.
She said the two institutions - Anna University and Alagappa University - had received the circular on September 16, 2014, where it was stated that Hindi be taught as a primary language along with English in undergraduate courses, besides following it in law and commerce streams also.
She said this decision had been taken at the meeting of the Kendriya Hindi Samiti (National Hindi Council) on July 28, 2011 under then prime minister Manmohan Singh.
The council then said that students in Gujarat either graduated studying English or Hindi, thus resulting in lack of translation skills in central departments and UGC had been asked to ensure Hindi was also taught along with English, she said in a statement here.
"From this, it is clear that the effort to impose Hindi basically stemmed from the decisions taken in this July 28, 2011 meeting of the Kendriya Hindi Samiti," she said.
Jayalalithaa also questioned why DMK, then a part of the Congress-led UPA, remained silent, though it opposed the move now. She said her party's stand was consistent and Hindi should not be imposed on non-Hindi speaking states.
The Official Languages Act, 1963, made it clear that Hindi should not be imposed on states not speaking the language, while the communication between Centre and such states, classified as 'Zone C', should only be in English, as mandates later.
"Therefore, the UGC circular will not at all apply to universities in Tamil Nadu," she said.
At a time when she raised demands like Tamil being made official language and being accorded the same status in Madras High Court, such a directive asking universities in the state to teach Hindi along English "is not only unacceptable, but also against the law," she said.
She said that in various streams in the universities, Tamil or other languages would continue to remain under Part I, English Part II and other related ones Part III.
"I have asked the Chief Secretary of the state to advice universities in the state to convey to UGC that the decisions taken in the Kendriya Hindi Samiti on July 27, 2011 will not be binding on them," she said.
This is the third major controversy over language since the new government came to power. Earlier Tamil Nadu parties had opposed directives asking central government employees to use Hindi while posting tweets or messages on social media, and on the observance of Teachers’ Day as Guru Utsav.