Uproar in RS over use of English in IIT exam

New Delhi: Uproar over use of English as medium of examination in IITs led to a brief adjournment of the Rajya Sabha today.

The trouble started when HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said that Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are autonomous bodies which are free to decide on the language for examination and curriculum.

"The Government does not impose decisions on IITs," he said, replying to supplementaries on National Testing Agency for IITs.

"It is for IITs governing council to decide what language to use for conducting the examination," he said.

This evoked sharp reaction from both ruling and opposition parties.

As opposition members took potshots at Sibal for using English to reply, the minister retorted saying they should ensure that the Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley also speaks in Hindi all the time.

Jaitley, who was present at that time, only smiled at the remark.

Satyavrat Chaturvedi (Cong) said Hindi is `Rajbhasha` according to the Constitution and IIT governing council is not above the Constitution.

Members from Left, TDP, SP, JD-U and BSP joined the protest and demanded use of Hindi and regional languages in IIT examination.

Chairman Hamid Ansari said if the House wants a debate on the subject, members should give notice but they should not disrupt Question Hour.

He asked members to resume their seats and allow the Question Hour to proceed.

As the members did not relent, Ansari adjourned the House for 15 minutes.

Earlier, Minister of State for HRD D Purandeswari said the joint entrance examination (JEE) for entry into IITs can be taken both in English and Hindi.

She said English has not been imposed by the Centre on state governments.

Sibal said the Damodar Acharya Committee has recommended setting up of a National Testing Agency to the IIT Council which has referred the report to a panel headed by Secretary, Department of Science and Technology.

The Joint Admission Board (JAB), which conducts IIT-JEE, has informed that there is a plan to hold on-line exam in future, but there is no specific time limit, he said.