Monday, February 15, 2010

Delhi High Court Snubs 90% of Indians – says speak only English

Delhi High Court has rejected demands of lawyers’ association to argue in Hindi.

This is what lawyers’ association has to say:

“When lawyers argue in Hindi, judges do not pay attention to them. English has become a status symbol,” Aggarwal said. Moreover, Article 348 of the constitution provides for arguing court cases in English as well as in regional languages, he pointed out.

“Hindi is being used in the high courts of Rajasthan, Allahabad and Madhya Pradesh, but not in the national capital,” he said.

Article 348, clause 2 deals with issue of allowing other languages apart from English.

(2) Notwithstanding anything in sub-clause (a) of
clause (1), the Governor
*** of a State may, with the
previous consent of the President, authorise the use of the
Hindi language, or any other language used for any official
purposes of the State, in proceedings in the High Court
having its principal seat in that State:
Provided that nothing in this clause shall apply to
any judgment, decree or order passed or made by such
High Court.

So this basically means that even though the final judgment will be only in English but arguments and other high court activities can be allowed in Hindi or any other language.

The lawyers had earlier started a campaign on allowing usage of Hindi in Sep 2009 as given below.

It is interesting that the lower courts allow regional languages in courts, but the higher you go the access to justice will be limited to those who know English language.

Maybe first government should first make use of English mandatory in all public and government dealings in police, armed forces, government offices and so on.  Also the constitution should be changed to allow free English language learning to all children till age of 14.  Else how can it be hoped that 90% of Indians who don’t know English can get justice in courts?  Or probably the Delhi high court thinks that 90% of Indians don’t deserve to get to high court and above!  They should settle their matters in lower courts and be happy.

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