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Report No. 216

President, Bar Association of India

Mr. Fali S. Nariman - The Bar Association of India

Hon'ble Mr. Justice Y.V. Chandrachud, Former Chief Justice of India

"I am in receipt of your letter dated 8th October, 2007 asking me to offer my views on the recommendations made by the Committee of Parliament on Official Language.

(I am very stoutly opposed to the proposed amendment 16.8(d) and 16.8(e). I am of the firm opinion that the Constitution should not be amended to enable the Legislative Department to undertake original drafting in Hindi. I am even more stoutly opposed to the recommendation 16.8(e). neither the Supreme Court or the High Courts should be asked to deliver their judgements in Hindi. The judges of these courts are drawn from all over India and they are not all conversant with Hindi. The English language is now acquiring importance as the language of the world. We should not deny the new generation the benefit of English language."

Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. Natarajan

"I am in receipt of your letter dated October 8, 2007 regarding the reference to the Law Commission of India for its view/opinion and appropriate recommendation regarding the original drafting by the Legislative Department in Hindi and the delivering of judgements and decrees etc., by the Supreme Court and High Courts in Hindi for the benefit of the authorities carrying out judicial/quasi-judicial functions to deliver orders in Hindi.

One can well understand the desire of the Hindi protagonists to seek replacement of English by Hindi in full measure on the ground that Hindi is being spoken by the majority of people in the Country. However genuine and laudable their desire may be, I am personally of the view and I am sure a large number of people of India particularly in the Southern and Eastern parts will not be in favour of the original drafting of acts in Hindi and likewise the Supreme Court and the High Courts delivering judgments in Hindi. Many Judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court as well as many lawyers do not know Hindi language and will have to depend on translations in English to know the Acts and Judgements.

English language has not only come to occupy an indispensable and irreplaceable status in the country but has also become a world language. Judgements of the Supreme Court and High Courts of India are read and sometimes quoted before High Courts and Supreme Courts of other countries in the world.

Such being the case, if the Supreme Court and High Courts are to deliver judgements in Hindi, the people in the south and the eastern regions including the learned members of the Bar and the Judiciary will not be able to know the judgements delivered in Hindi by the Supreme Court and High Courts except through translations in English of those judgements.

Furthermore, the unity and integrity of the Country is bound to be affected by reason of the linguistic chauvinists.

(Therefore in my considered view, the Law Commission should not give acceptance to the recommendation of the Parliamentary Committee for the proposed amendment of Article 348 of the Constitution as set out in recommendation 16.8(d) and 16.8(e)."

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

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