Parliamentary panel says Centre has powers to constitute use of regional languages in HCs

English is the official language in the Supreme Court and all 24 high courts in the country.

Published: 19th February 2017 08:48 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th February 2017 08:48 PM   |  A+A-

Madras High Court. (File photo)

Madras High Court. | Express File Photo

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The debate on using Hindi and other regional languages in High Courts has again gained steam with the parliamentary committee making it clear that the Centre has enough powers under the Constitution to go ahead and implement it.

Right now, English is the official language in the Supreme Court and all 24 high courts in the country. In many cases, judges allow lawyers to argue their case in the language they are comfotable in, which is understandable by them as well but all paper work is done in English.

Centre had received proposals for the use of Bengali, Tamil, Gujarati, Hindi and Kannada in the high courts of Calcutta, Madras, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka, respectively.

However, all the proposals were rejected by the full bench of the Supreme Court on October 11, 2012 which reiterated its earlier similar resolutions adopted in 1997 and 1999 to not accept the requests of change in languages.

“Scheduled languages other than English may be permitted to be used in the high courts, provided it is demanded by the state government concerned," the department- related standing committee on Law and Personnel said.

The committee cites Article 348 which states, “The consultation process with judiciary is not required as the constitutional provisions are amply clear on the use of scheduled languages in the high courts.”

The judiciary is consulted for change in language of any high courts after the Union Cabinet had, on May 21, 1965, adopted a convention to seek the views of the Chief Justice of India before taking any such decision.

Time and again many PILs too were filed in various courts including apex court stating using English as an official language in higher judiciary is a legacy of British rule which should be done away with.

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