Retain English names of new criminal laws: Ex-CJI

Article 348 mandates that all Acts, Bills, Notifications and enactments shall be in English language.
Guv R N Ravi addressing gathering at conference in VIT University, Chennai.
Guv R N Ravi addressing gathering at conference in VIT University, Chennai.(Photo | Express)

CHENNAI: Former Chief Justice of India and former Kerala Governor K Sathasivam and Dr N S Santhosh Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law University, Chennai, on Sunday urged the union government to retain the English nomenclature for the new criminal laws which will be coming into force from July 1.

They made this appeal while speaking at the valedictory session of Conference on ‘India’s Progressive Path in the Administration of Criminal Justice System’ at Vellore Institute of Technology, Kelambakkam.Sathasivam,hailing the new legislation, said, “The only problem is that I cannot comfortably pronounce the names of these. I am going to request the union minister concerned in this regard.

Recently, the Kerala High Court agreed to hear a public interest litigation plea and issued a notice to the Central government challenging the Hindi/Sanskrit titles for the three new criminal laws arguing that the naming of new legislation has violated Article 348 of the Constitution.”

Article 348 mandates that all Acts, Bills, Notifications and enactments shall be in English language. “Since the matter is posted for hearing on July 26 in Kerala court, as a former Chief Justice of India, it won’t be proper for me to express my views further on this subject,” he said. However, he said, significant changes were made which include revising punishment for a few crimes, addressing issues such as jurisdiction, case backlog, insufficient human resources, inadequate investigations, prosecution, etc.

Santhosh Kumar said: “It is an earnest appeal from a South Indian. At present, the nomenclature of these three legislation is in Sanskrit, and all people in our country are not well versed in Sanskrit.”

Recently, Chief Minister MK Stalin, while urging Union Home Minister Amit Shah to withhold these three legislation until the views of all state governments and other stakeholders have been considered, raised their nomenclature. He said the three new laws are named in Sanskrit in clear violation of Article 348.

Union Minister of State (I/C) Ministry of Law & Justice Arjun Ram Meghwal and Union Minister of State for I&B and Parliamentary Affairs L Murugan explained the salient features of the three new legislation. Justice Asish Jitendra Desai, Chief Justice of the High Court of Kerala; Justice Alok Aradhe, Chief Justice of Telangana; and Justice R Mahadevan Chief Justice (Acting) Madras High Court, took part in the conference as well.

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