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Report No. 216

Mr. P.P. Rao, Sr. Advocate

This is in response to your kind letter dated October 8, 2007 regarding the recommendations of the Committee of Parliament on Official Language. I am not in favour of implementation of the recommendations at Sl.No.16.8(d) and (e) made by the Committee at present for the following reasons:

Conditions are not ripe for switching over from English language to Hindi in the Supreme Court and in the High Courts. In several parts of the country even now people are not fully conversant with Hindi, notwithstanding the mandate of Article 351 to the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language. The Judges of the Supreme Court and of all High Courts belong to Hindi speaking states as well as non-Hindi speaking States.

Therefore, it is necessary to continue English, which is a common language for all Indians, in the Supreme Court and in the High Courts. As you are aware, Section 7 of the Official Language Act, 1963 permits the use of Hindi as the official language of a State in addition to the English language for the purpose of any judgment, decree or order passed or made by the High Courts for that State, provided the Governor of a State with the previous consent of the President authorizes such use. There have been a very few instances where judgements of High Courts were written in Hindi.

In these cases when the aggrieved party had to approach the Supreme Court the entire judgement had to be translated into English which involves time and additional expenditure for the litigant, which are avoidable. Till such time as all the Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts are fully conversant with Hindi and are proficient enough to write judgments in Hindi, it is not at all advisable to amend the Constitution.

So far as legislative business is concerned, in the Hindi speaking States already Bills are prepared in Hindi language and debates take place in Hindi language. Likewise Government Orders are passed in Hindi language. Noting on files also done in many cases in the Hindi language. Section 3 of the Official Languages Act, 1965 provides for continuation of English language for official purposes for Union and for use in Parliament in addition to Hindi and for the transaction of the business in Parliament.

For the successful implementation of the recommendations, it is necessary to prepare the ground first by propagating Hindi all over the country to such an extent that no inconvenience is felt by anyone by switching over from English language to Hindi language with respect to proceedings in the Supreme Court and in all High Courts.

In the past, there was a large scale violence resistance to making Hindi a compulsory language in schools in the South. Prime Minister Nehru gave an assurance that English would not be replaced by Hindi against the will of the people and that status quo will be maintained till the non Hindi speaking people themselves desire a change. Language is a sensitive issue which can easily arouse emotions of the people.

In the interest of national integration and maintaining the unity and solidarity of the country, it is not desirable to rake up this issue at a time when several fissiparous and divisive forces are at work. Every effort should be made to promote fraternity among all citizens of the country in the interest of the unity. I am apprehensive that any attempt to implement the recommend-dations of the Parliamentary Committee at this juncture may spark off violent protests and agitations in some parts of the country."

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

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