Terming as "retrogade" and "highly discriminatory" the recent Union Public Service Commission notification on regional langauges, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday said they appeared "to be calculated to bias the system against Civil Service aspirants from non-Hindi speaking regions".
In a strongly-worded letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she said the four major changes announced by UPSC would "adversely affect" the interests of students from Tamil Nadu, particularly those from rural backgrounds.
"I apprehend that these retrograde changes brought in by the UPSC without adequate consultation with state governments are undemocratic and unilateral and will have the effect of unfairly denying the youth of Tamil Nadu their fair chance of representation in the Civil Services, and ultimately, hamper the governance of the country.
"I urge you to intervene in the matter and prevail on the UPSC to reconsider these invidious, unfair and discriminatory changes made in the scheme of the Civil Services Examination, she said.
Referring to the changes, she said the new stipulation that the main examination including optional papers can be written in Tamil only if the candidates had studied in that medium up to the graduation level denies them the opportunity to write the examination in their mother tongue Tamil.
She pointed out this, however, did not apply for those who wished to appear in Hindi medium. While both Tamil and Hindi were in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution, the UPSC move clearly 'discriminates' against not just Tamil speaking, but against all candidates from the non-Hindi states, she said.
"This is violative of Articles 14 and 16 of Constitution of India and places such candidates at a disadvantage compared to those students writing the examination in English or Hindi."
She also criticised the change pertaining to choosing literature of a language as optional paper, minimum requirement of 25 candidates for writing the examination in a particular language and inclusion of an English composition and précis writing section as an evaluated portion of essay paper instead of qualifying English.
"The changes made by the UPSC are invidious, discriminatory and militate against the federal nature of our polity and the Constitutional equality bestowed upon regional languages like Tamil.... These changes clearly infringe on the Right to Equality in Public Employment enshrined in Article 16 of the Constitution of India," she said.
Jayalalithaa's arch-rival and DMK chief M Karunanidhi had Tuesday written to the Prime Minister opposing the UPSC notification scrapping regional language paper, describing it as an attempt to "impose" Hindi.