A single judge’s order dismissing a case on the grounds that the petitioner’s counsel had presented arguments in Tamil has been challenged in the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench).
On July 10, Justice Manikumar had dismissed a petition filed by a daily wager from Thoothukudi, Ayesha Banu, seeking a direction to the authorities to rescue her husband Bakeer Moideen, who is stranded in Mecca for over 21 months after losing his passport, since the counsel G Bhagvath Singh argued the matter in Tamil.
Pointing out that English is the only accepted language of communication in the higher courts as per Article 348 of the Indian Constitution the judge had dismissed the petition.
Appealing against the verdict, Ayesha submitted that the single judge failed to consider the merit and urgency of the case.
Petitioner submitted that Article 350 of the Constitution states that every person shall be entitled to submit a representation for the redress of grievance to any officer or authority of the Union or a State in any of the languages used in the Union or in the State.
Further in 2007, the Madras High Court had accepted the resolution passed by the TN Legislative Assembly and subsequently in 2010 the then Chief Justice of Madras HC accepted the demands of the lawyers to allow them to argue in Tamil.
Countering the citation made by the judge on the basis of the Madhu Limaye Vs Vedamurthy case in 1970 in which, the Supreme Court had restrained one Raj Narain from presenting arguments in Hindi, the petitioner stated that Raj Narain was allowed to advance his argument in Hindi on first day. However, in the petitioner’s case the situation is diametrically opposite as the Government Advocate has not objected to the argument being present in Tamil. Also, the prosecution counsel and the judge were well versed in Tamil.
Hearing the plea, a bench comprising Justices M Jaichandren and M Venugopal adjourned the case to September 12.