Report No. 14
11. Benefits of English and need for unity of language.-
By the use of the English language as the language our laws and our superior law courts, we have been able to establish and work a countrywide system of laws and judicial administration. If the official language of the Union is to be Hindi, as provided by the Constitution, it is essential, in view of what we have stated above, that Hindi should in the future be the language of all our laws, Union or State and the medium of proceedings in the Supreme Court and the High Courts.
12. Hindi to take the place of English, but after development.-
In other words, what we recommend is that at some convenient date in the future, Hindi should be substituted for and take the place of English as the language in which our laws will be framed and in which the proceedings of the superior courts will be conducted. It will also be necessary-as contemplated by the Constitution for both Hindi and English to be used as the language of our laws and law courts for a time till Hindi has grown sufficiently and developed an adequate legal vocabulary and phraseology.
13. General agreement, gradual change necessary.-
The evidence of the witnesses before us, broadly speaking, agrees with the view which we have expressed above and emphasized, very rightly, that the change-over in Hindi will have to be gradual and have wait till the knowledge of Hindi has spread and the language itself has sufficiently developed.
14. Extreme views favouring regional language.-
However, in some of the non-Hindi-speaking States like West-Bengal, Madras and Kerala we had some witnesses who took up the extreme position that all State laws should be enacted in the regional languages and the proceedings in all the State courts including the High Courts should be conducted in the regional languages. This view seemed to derive partly from a zeal for the development of the regional languages and partly from a feeling that if the regional languages were denied what they thought was their rightful place in the law and the law courts, they would not develop legal concepts and a legal phraseology.
Opposition to Hindi-English preferred.- There appeared also to be a feeling of antagonism to Hindi arising from the idea that a language which was the regional language of some other States was being sought to be imposed on States in preference to and in supersession of, the regional languages of these States. A small section of opinion went to the length of advocating the continuance of English as the language of our laws and law courts for an indefinite time in preference to the substitution of Hindi thus preferring the perpetuation of a foreign language to the introduction of a language spoken by over forty per cent of the Indian people. It was surprising that a few members of the legal profession which by its training and practice is accustomed to take balanced, views should have supported this extreme position.
15. Considerable preparatory work essential for introducing Hindi.-
Before we can substitute Hindi for English in the manner we have indicated above, at some future date, an enormous amount of preparatory work will be necessary. Our law students, our law professors and later our lawyers and judges will have to be trained to be able to understand and use Hindi with proficiency and exactitude, so as to be able to expound the law and legal concepts in that language. The foundation of such proficiency and exactitude must be a well developed vocabulary, which can be used for the purpose of laws and law courts and a law lexicon which would as far as possible convey in Hindi legal concepts and legal phrases.
Hindi Law Lexicon (Terms from English, Latin etc. to be adopted).- We understand that such a lexicon is how under preparation. We trust that the work has not been left to Hindi enthusiasts who in other spheres have tried to draw largely on Sanskrit in framing Hindi words and phrases and have evolved what has been called Shudha or Sanskritised Hindi. There is no reason why in preparing a legal lexicon in Hindi, English and Latin phrases and words which are in current use in legal phraseology and which have acquired a definite and well accepted legal connotation understood all over the Anglo-Saxon world should not be legally adopted.
Similarly there have been in use in the erstwhile States of Hyderabad and Baroda where Urdu and Gujarati were used for a large number of years in the law courts, certain legal terms which can well be adopted into the Hindi legal vocabulary. If we are to make use, as we must for many years of text books in English and reports of cases decided in the United Kingdom and the United States, it will be a definite advantage to adopt as many English legal terms and phrases as possible in Hindi.
16. Widespread proficiency in Hindi necessary.-
The preparations of a lexicon will however be only a small step towards the accomplishment of the huge tasks necessary to be accomplished before we can change over to Hindi. Hindi can only be introduced in the manner we have indicated when we have produced a generation of lawyers who have from the primary and secondary courses of education been taught Hindi and to whom instruction in law has been imparted in Hindi in the law colleges with the aid of legal text books compiled in Hindi. A beginning has therefore to be made by making the teaching of Hindi compulsory at the secondary stage of education and making it the medium of instruction in the teaching of law.
17. Recommendations of the Language Commission.-
We may now turn to relevant recommendations made by the Language Commission which we set out briefly below:-
(1) The authorities enactment ought to be eventually in Hindi both in respect of parliamentary and State Legislation; but there may be need to publish translations in all the important regional languages current in the country. Chapter IX, paragraph 4.1
1. All references are to the Report of the Official Language Commission.
(2) When the time comes for this change-over, the entire statute book of the country including rules and statutory orders issued under any law should be in one language which cannot of course be other than Hindi. This applied both to the Centre and the States. Chapter IX, paragraphs 5 and 6.
(3) Hindi alone can be the language of the Supreme Court in respect of the entire court proceedings, records, judgments and orders. Authoritative texts of reported judgments will also be published in Hindi. Chapter X, paragraph 8.
(4) Separate regional language series of reports of Supreme Court decisions should be made available. Chapter X, paragraphs 8.
(5) In courts up to District level, the regional language should be the court language: but the States should consider the making of a provision permitting parties at their option the use of Hindi at any rate at the district level. Chapter X, paragraphs 9 and 16.
(6) The multiple linguistic pattern should be broken and integrated at the High Court level. In the High Courts, the judgments, decrees and orders must be in Hindi. Chapter X, paragraphs 10 and 13.
(7) Reportable High Court judgments should be translated into the respective regional languages. A "translation unit" may be established in every High Court for this purpose. Chapter X, paragraph 11.
(8) For a long time after a general change-over, it may he necessary to permit individual Judges to deliver judgments in English (in the Supreme Court and the High Courts). There may be an option to High Court Judges to deliver judgments in their regional languages provided English or Hindi translation of such judgments are authenticated by them. Similarly, individual Counsel may be permitted to argue in English or Hindi in the Supreme Court and in English of the regional language in the High Courts. Chapter X, paragraphs 8, 14 and 35.
(9) The change-over should not be made until the ground work has been fully prepared by the-
(a) Preparation of a standard legal lexicon.
(b) re-enactment of the Statute Book in Hindi in respect of both Central and State legislation. Chapter XI, paragraphs 1 and 3.
(10) Legal terms and expressions should be used in the same significance in all parts of the country. The evolution of the necessary terminology should be accelerated. Chapter XI, paragraphs 4 and 6.
(11)(a) As part of the ground work, there have to be corresponding changes in the educational system.
(b) Instruction in Hindi should be compulsory in the Secondary School stage and also for a minimum of three or four years during the later part of the earlier school course.
(c) In the case of technical educational institutions, where students of different linguistic regions receive education, Hindi should be the common medium to be adopted; the regional language may be used if the students are almost wholly drawn from a single linguistic group. Chapter X paragraph 18 and Chapter VI, paragraphs 5, 12 and 22.
18. Our views on the recommendations.-
Though we agree with a large number of these recommendations, we disagree with some of them as in our view they are inconsistent with the scheme which we have recommended, namely, the substitution of Hindi for English in the superior and subordinate courts as and when the Hindi language has developed.
Language of subordinate courts.- The Language Commission seems to have envisaged the regional language as the language of the courts up to the district level. As pointed out above, English is used even in the subordinate courts at present for judgments, decrees and orders and in a considerable measure in arguments by the lawyers. As our lawyers get trained in Hindi and in Hindi legal phraseology they will be able to use Hindi instead of English in these subordinate courts.
Instead of arguments being addressed as now mainly in English with the use now and again of the regional language, arguments will then be addressed mainly in Hindi with the occasional use of the regional language. The changeover from English to Hindi in the framing of judgments, decrees and orders should not present any difficulty at that stage. There would seem therefore to be no reason why the courts up to the district level should mainly, and as a rule, function in the regional language.
19. High Courts.-
In regard to the High Courts, the Language Commission seemed to contemplate proceedings being conducted in the regional language. There appears to us to be to reason why this should be so. With the gradual development of Hindi and law and legal phraseology in Hindi, it is necessary that proceedings in these courts should be conducted in Hindi instead of English, as at present.
20. Medium of legal education.-
We also consider it essential that the medium of instruction in all legal educational institutions should be Hindi. It is not possible to envisage the possibility of our being able to compile the necessary legal text books in all the regional languages. It would be a Herculean task to render the different series of law reports into the various regional languages. Even if it could be satisfactorily accomplished, reports in different regional languages are bound to lead to the imperfect understanding of and a sense of uncertainty in the law laid down by these decisions.
The authoritative texts of all laws, Union and State, and the decisions of the Supreme Court and the High Courts will be in the Hindi language. It would thus be difficult to impart instruction in the regional language when these laws and decisions are in the Hindi language. In regard to foreign decisions, the position will be still more difficult. Excerpts from these decisions could, if at all, be made available to the law student only in one Indian language, viz. Hindi and not in the different regional languages.
21. Knowledge of English necessary.-
It may be pointed out that though instruction will be imparted at the legal educational institutions in Hindi, the student eligible to enter these institutions will have to possess, as a student taking up any other technical subject, like medicine or engineering, a sufficient knowledge of English to be able to read and grasp legal text books and law reports in that language.
22. Only gradual change-over to Hindi possible.-
The ultimate change over from English into Hindi will have to wait not only still the ground has been prepared by the compilation of a standard legal lexicon and by the re-enactment of the Statute Book in Hindi; but till large groups of lawyers and Judges proficient in Hindi and Hindi legal phraseology are available.
23. For the reasons mentioned, we express our disagreement to the extent indicated above with the recommendations of the Language Commission numbered 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 11(c) in paragraph 17.
24. Time necessary for change-over at least 25 years.-
It may be asked what period of time is to elapse before the change-over from English to Hindi can take place. We have endeavoured above to indicate the preparatory work which will have to be done before the change-over can be made We may repeat, that only when we have large numbers of lawyers and Judges able to conduct proceedings in Hindi that a change-over can be effectively made. These conditions can be produced within a reasonable time, only if we start immediately and in earnest, imparting to our children education in Hindi at the primary and secondary stages and subjecting students knowing Hindi in legal training through the medium of Hindi in our legal educational institutions. It is difficult to estimate the time needed for bringing about the conditions we have envisaged. They are obviously not capable of being achieved in a period of less than 25 or 30 years.
In view of the fact that we have set out our views in detail in the body of the Chapter we have considered it unnecessary to annex a summary of recommendations.