Report No. 216
Mr. K.K. Venugopal, Sr. Advocate
"Thank you for your letter of October 8, 2007.
I am expressing my brief views on the recommendations of the Committee on Official Language as follows:
(1) The proposal will be disruptive of the unity of the country. Schedule VIII to the Constitution of India contains as many as 22 languages, which are recognized by the Constitution. Language, as all of us are aware, is a very emotive issue which has resulted in redrawing the map of India by dividing it into linguistic States. Even after six decades of the Constitution, Hindi is not spoken by an overwhelming section of the population in a large number of the States in the country.
Carrying out the recommendations of the Committee of Parliament would be highly destructive of the harmony which now exists between the people of the different States. I seriously apprehend that language riots may break out in many States in the South against the imposition of Hindi, as we have seen in the past. Why does one want history to repeat itself?
(2) Today we have in the higher judiciary judges from different parts of the country, some of whom do not understand Hindi. If the language of the Supreme Court of India were to be Hindi, perhaps, no judge from the southern States could possibly be on the Bench and participate intelligently and effectively in the deliberations of the court.
So too would be the position if judges from the High Courts of some States who would not have the proficiency in Hindi to be able to understand the arguments and write judgments in Hindi are to the High Courts of Hindi-speaking States. The lawyers from the non-Hindi speaking States would be at a tremendous disadvantage.
(3) I see one more problem. The cost of translation is prohibitive. If the Government and other documents are in English, as is the case in many of the States, they would all have to be translated. So too the evidence and judgments which are in English. Today English is the language in which judgments are written in the South-Asian countries except Nepal.
Our judgments will no more have any influence and force in, say Bangladesh or Sri Lanka. Nor will they be read and understood in the other parts of the English-speaking world consisting mainly of Common Law countries. It is in the larger interests of the country that matters are left where they stand.
These are a few of my thoughts which certainly represent the point of view of a very large section of the population of this country. I have no doubt that any attempt to implement the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee would bring about divisiveness among, and confrontation between the people of India."