Gujarat wants High Court proceedings in local language,sends reminder to Centre

State Law Minister Dilip Sanghani has sought central government’s permission for the use of Gujarati language in the proceedings of the Gujarat High Court,other than judgments,decrees and orders.

Written by Syed Khalique Ahmed | Ahmedabad | Published:May 4, 2012 4:56 am

State Law Minister Dilip Sanghani has sought central government’s permission for the use of Gujarati language in the proceedings of the Gujarat High Court,other than judgments,decrees and orders.

In a letter written recently to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram,Sanghani reminded him about the proposal the state government had sent to the Centre in this regard a year ago.

To buttress his arguments in support of the demand,Sanghani has quoted excerpts of an observation of Mahatma Gandhi,which was also referred to by the Supreme Court in 1994 in connection with a judgment on education in one’s mother tongue. Gandhiji had strongly supported school education in mother tongue of the children and observed that it would amount to a “sin against the motherland to inflict upon her children a tongue other their mother’s for their mental development”.

Sanghani told The Indian Express that a year had passed since he represented the matter with the central government but there was no response at all.

He said there were a number of advocates who could perform better than many if they were allowed to argue their cases in the court in Gujarati language. As they did not have good command over spoken English,they were not able to practice in the HC and it stunted the growth of their career. “This is unacceptable and needs to be corrected,” he stated.

When pointed out that nearly 50% of the HC judges were from other states and lacked knowledge of the Gujarati language,the minister said arrangements to teach them the language could be made by the government as was done for IAS and IPS officers from other states joining the Gujarat cadre. Until they pick up the language,they could be provided translators.

Moreover,he said,the HC in several states like Bihar,MP,Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh had received authorisation for the use of Hindi in their proceedings. “If these states could be allowed to use Hindi in the proceedings of their respective high courts,there is no reason why the Gujarat High Court be not allowed to use Gujarati,the official language of the state,in its proceedings,” Sanghani said.

“Using Gujarati language in the proceedings will increase the participation of the public in judicial process and will also enable advocates and persons wishing to appear as parties-in-person before the HC and argue their cases in the language they are conversant with,instead of using a foreign language,” said the minister,adding it would also safeguard the self-esteem of the people of Gujarat.

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