Plea to allow regional languages in high courts

New Delhi, June 23 (Calcutta Tube) Proceedings in high courts should be allowed in regional languages, a petitioner said Wednesday while moving the Supreme Court and seeking directions to the central government on the issue.

The petition was in particular reference to an ongoing agitation in Tamil Nadu for holding proceedings in Madras High Court in Tamil.

The petitioner All India Junior Advocate Association said that besides permitting the appellate court proceedings in regional languages of the respective states, there should be in place an arrangement for simultaneous translation from regional language to English and vice versa as was the case in parliament.

The petitioner association that moved the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) through its president N. Raja Raman said that the proceedings in the high courts in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh (BIMARU) states were permitted in Hindi.

The denial of similar facilities to the young and upcoming advocates of other high court would be discriminatory and in breach of the fundamental right of equality and expression guaranteed under the constitution, petition said.

‘The denial of the right of arguments and court craft being presented in the regional language, denies the litigant the equal protection of the law as compared to their companion litigant public in BIMARU States,’ the petition said.

The PIL said that if it was not possible to permit higher courts’ proceedings in regional languages then the education in law should be confined to English and Hindi medium only.

The petition said a student who has studied law in Tamil may not be comfortable arguing his brief in English. He said that such a student understood the legal vocabulary in Tamil only.

The petitioner recalled that the Tamil Nadu government’s proposal to make Tamil as court language for the Madras High Court was rejected by then chief justice K.G. Balakrishnan.

However, the petition said that a parliamentary standing committee on law and justice headed by E.M.S. Natchiappan did not agree with the stance taken by then chief justice Balakrishnan.

The petitioner said request by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi to permit proceedings in Madras High Court in Tamil was rejected because an earlier request for the introduction of Bengali as the court language in Calcutta High Court too was turned down.

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