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Report No. 216

Hon'ble Mr. Justice K.S. Paripoornan

"With reference to your communication dated 8.10.2007, in the first instance, I have to apologize to you, for not sending a reply earlier. The reason is that my wife was hospitalized for over two weeks and I had no proper help to attend to many of my matters. Please excuse me for the delay.

2. The crux of the recommendation of the Committee of Parliament on Official Language is that article 348 of the Constitution may be amended, for a change over to "Hindi" as the language for legislative drafting and that, later, the High Courts and the Supreme Court should be directed to deliver their judgments etc. in Hindi.

3. Let me at once state that this is impractical and unwise, at least for a good many years to come. Even in 1949, when the said article was discussed in the Constituent Assembly, there was sharp difference of opinion and, notwithstanding the passage of time; things and events have not changed to take a deviation.

Briefly stated, English today is an international language; even Russians, Germans, Americans, French, Japanese, Chinese and other nations greatly and in a large measure adopt and freely use the language, the reason being that the scientific, technological, cultural and other global advancements have compelled the people all over the world to accept English as the medium of expression, thought and communication in all such fields. In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh also the case is the same. In the circumstances, can 'India' alone stand apart and lose the benefit of such great learning and expertise?

That apart, innumerable persons belonging to all nationalities and castes have pursued "education" in foreign countries (in English) and a good number of Indians are employed in many foreign countries which have adopted English language in all aspects of life, academic, professional, scientific, cultural etc. - and is it wise to ignore such realities in life at this distance of time, except at peril?

4. More at home, as an experienced Judge, you need not be told that many laws in India have adopted and imbibed English common law to a great extent and the decisions rendered on various such laws not only by English courts, but also by American, Australian, Canadian, and South African courts, have influenced our judicial decisions and continue to do so, since it is only commonsense and natural to accept pleasingly 'light and wisdom' from whatever quarter it comes.

Will it be possible, feasible and in any manner conducive for a proper growth of law, to forsake or abandon such approach without causing detriment to the very roots of the Rule of Law, which India has adopted and accepted from English? Is it not a suicidal policy which will cost the nation heavily?

5. Kindly have a look at the debates of the Constituent Assembly of India which took place on 12th, 13th and 14th September 1949 - details can be seen from pages 1265 to 1462 of the book (Official Report) "The Constituent Assembly Debates - Volume 9". When the bill for article 348 was moved, there were heated and learned discussions of the Honourable Members on many aspects and Shri N. Golapaswamy Iyengar finally persuaded the Assembly to adopt article 348 retaining English as the language for drafting bills and for use in High Courts and Supreme Court. I am not dealing exhaustively about the same since it is a matter which appears in the book officially published and in detail.

6. I am candidly against the proposal to amend article 348 of the Constitution, regard being had to the world events since 1949 and the totality of circumstances by which we have accepted, adopted and been substantially benefited by the English language.

7. Before concluding, I may bring to your attention the fact that the well-informed and experienced members of the Bar are also against the proposal for amendment as proposed at present. In this connection, please refer to an erudite but short article in 2008(1) K.L.T. Journal Section, pages 18-21 by Shri T.P. Kelu Nambiar, MA, ML, Senior Advocate, High Court of Kerala, a lawyer of repute who has standing for over 50 years or so."

Non-Feasibility of Introduction of Hindi as Compulsory Language in the Supreme Court of India Back

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