The State government has reserved as much as 20% of vacancies in public services, including judicial service, for Persons Studied in Tamil Medium (PSTM) category, but the irony is that many government law colleges in the State do not offer courses in Tamil medium, the Madras High Court has pointed out.
A Full Bench of Justices R. Subbiah, C.V. Karthikeyan and C. Saravanan stated that none of the 11 government law colleges in the State offered their courses in Tamil throughout. While some colleges were offering exclusive Tamil medium classes intermittently, the rest do not offer such classes at all till date.
“Therefore, it is evident that law degree is not imparted, rather it is pursued in Tamil by students in the State intermittently whenever it was offered in some select colleges depending upon number of takers. However, 20% of vacancies are earmarked for them. We are not aware as to how many candidates have so far availed this concession in this State,” the Bench remarked.
Authoring the verdict, Justice Subbiah said as per two Government Orders issued in September 30, 2010 and April 30, 2014 respectively, reservations under PSTM category could be availed by candidates who studied in Tamil medium to acquire the educational qualifications prescribed for the post.
The GOs require the head of the college/institution concerned to issue certificates to that effect to the individual candidates for the purpose of availing reservations in jobs. They also make it clear that it was not sufficient for a candidate to have written the university or competitive examinations in Tamil without having studied the course in Tamil.
Despite such stipulations being implemented even for appointment of civil judges, it was a matter of fact that the government law colleges in Vellore, Villupuram, Dharmapuri and Ramanathapuram do not offer Tamil medium classes at all till date. Those in Tiruchi, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli and Chengelpattu began offering Tamil medium only from 2017-18.
The government law college in Madurai offered Tamil medium classes between 1978 to 1994. After a break due to lack of interest among students to opt for Tamil medium, it resumed those classes from 2013-14. Similarly, the law college in Chennai began offering Tamil medium from 2006-07 after a break.
Additional Advocate General S.R. Rajagopal brought it to the notice of the Full Bench that in order to encourage students to opt for Tamil medium, the government was offering a special stipend of ₹ 400 per year to every student. After recording the submissions, the judges wondered how many candidates would have benefited under the PSTM category till date.
However, answering a reference made to it by a Division Bench, the judges clarified that even those who had studied in Tamil medium could be denied reservation under PSTM category if they had failed to produce a certificate to that effect from the head of the institution concerned. Production of the certificate was an essential requirement, the court held.