The case for English

What the law panel said in 2008

Governance Now - - LEGAL PARLANCE -

“The Com­mis­sion has deeply gone into the views so ob­tained and has unan­i­mously rec­om­mended that – i) Lan­guage is a highly emo­tional is­sue for the ci­ti­zens of any na­tion. It has a great uni­fy­ing force and is a pow­er­ful in­stru­ment for na­tional in­te­gra­tion. No lan­guage should be thrust on any sec­tion of the peo­ple against their will since it is likely to be­come coun­ter­pro­duc­tive. ii) It is not merely a ve­hi­cle of thought and ex­pres­sion, but for Judges at the higher level, it is an in­te­gral part of their de­ci­sion-mak­ing process. Judges have to hear and un­der­stand the sub­mis­sions of both the sides, ap­ply the law to ad­just eq­ui­ties. Ar­gu­ments are gen­er­ally made in higher courts in English and the ba­sic lit­er­a­ture un­der the In­dian sys­tem is pri­mar­ily based on English and Amer­i­can text books and case laws. Thus, Judges at the higher level should be left free to evolve their own pat­tern of de­liv­er­ing judg­ments. iii) It is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant to note that in view of the na­tional trans­fer pol­icy in re­spect of the High Court Judges, if any such Judge is com­pelled to de­liver judg­ments in a lan­guage with which he is not well­versed, it might be­come ex­tremely dif­fi­cult for him to work ju­di­cially. On trans­fer from one part of the coun­try to an­other, a High Court Judge is not ex­pected to learn a new lan­guage at his age and to ap­ply the same in de­liv­er­ing judg­ments. iv) At any rate no lan­guage should be thrust upon the Judges of the higher ju­di­ciary and they should be left free to de­liver their judg­ments in the lan­guage they pre­fer. It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that ev­ery ci­ti­zen, ev­ery Court has the right to un­der­stand the law laid down fi­nally by the Apex Court and at present one should ap­pre­ci­ate that such a lan­guage is only English. v) The use of English lan­guage also fa­cil­i­tates the move­ment of lawyers from High Courts to the Apex Court since they are not con­fronted with any lin­guis­tic prob­lems and English re­mains the lan­guage at both the lev­els. Any sur­vey of the so­ci­ety in gen­eral or its cross-sec­tions will clearly sub­stan­ti­ate the above propo­si­tion which does not ad­mit of much de­bate, par­tic­u­larly in the present po­lit­i­cal, so­cial and eco­nomic sce­nario. vi) It may, how­ever, be ad­mit­ted that in so far as leg­isla­tive draft­ing is con­cerned, ev­ery leg­is­la­tion although au­thor­i­ta­tively en­acted in English may have a Hindi au­thor­i­ta­tive trans­la­tion along with the same at the cen­tral level. Same anal­ogy may be ap­plied even in re­spect of ex­ec­u­tive ac­tions at the cen­tral level, but the higher ju­di­ciary should not be sub­jected to any kind of even per­sua­sive change in the present so­ci­etal con­text.”

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