NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday suggested the Centre to amend the Official Languages Act for publishing official notifications in languages other than Hindi and English.
While staying the Delhi High Court’s order of contempt of court proceedings against the Environment Ministry for allegedly failing to publish draft EIA notification in regional languages, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde suggested that the Centre should amend the Act which says official publication can only be published in English and Hindi.
“These days, translation is the easiest thing on Earth. We translate judgments. Parliament has instant translation software. It is time for you to update your Act,” CJI Bobde told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who was appearing for the Centre.
“There could be people in areas like Karnataka or rural Maharashtra or Nagaland where people don’t know Hindi or English.” Mehta submitted that responses to the draft EIA can be in any language.
The bench was hearing the Centre’s appeal against the HC’s August 12 order asking the ministry to reply to a plea seeking contempt action for not publishing the draft EIA notification in 22 Indian languages.
Though the apex court stayed the contempt notice, it said that the spirit of the Delhi High Court order
In the plea, environmentalist Vikram Tongad said the Centre wilfully disobeyed a judicial order to publish the draft EIA in all languages mentioned in the Eight Schedule of the Constitution within 10 days, starting June 30.
The Delhi High Court had earlier extended the time granted for the public to provide suggestions for the draft EIA till August 11.
It had observed that there was ambiguity in the May 8 notification which extended the time limit for suggestions and also opined that the proposed notification should be translated into other languages too for effective dissemination.