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Advocates divided on demand to use Gujarati language in high court

Sixty-two per cent of the advocates were not in favour of introducing Gujarati as an additional language in the High Court.

Mixed opinion of advocates on use of Gujarati language in High Court. (Representational image/file)

The Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association (GHAA) Friday announced that it has kept in abeyance its demand for using the Gujarati language as an additional language in the High Court proceedings following a divided opinion among the advocates.

Sixty-two per cent of the advocates were not in favour of introducing Gujarati as an additional language in the High Court.

GHAA president and senior advocate Asim Pandya in a press note clarified that his earlier representation was in a personal capacity and was not representative of the advocates’ body. Pandya had on September 8 made a representation to Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat seeking addition of the Gujarati language along with English in the High Court proceedings.

The GHAA president in the press note stated that he started the campaign as he believed the justice delivery system seeks to serve the litigants and not advocates, but he faced “stiff resistance” from majority members of the advocates’ body.

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Pandya cited an “incomplete poll” conducted among the advocates where of the 81 advocates who polled, 62 per cent of them had voted against the move of introducing Gujarati as an additional language in the High Court and 38 per cent of them were in favour of the move.

Stating the demand for adding the Gujarati language as an additional language “is in consonance as well as in furtherance of the aims and objects of the constitution of GHCAA”, Pandya said that he has at this point of time decided not to insist for Gujarati as he had demanded in his personal capacity before the Governor.

This comes as retired IAS officer KG Vanzara has been writing to Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel since July, seeking the government issues all its orders by laws and notifications in English as well as Gujarati, pointing out that the government orders/communications usually are only in Gujarati and is causing “hardships” as such orders are then required to be translated to English by the public at large at a cost borne by them when they have to present such documents before the court.

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Pointing that such bilingual publication was common practice until 1980s, Vanzara’s representation notes: “Presently this practice have largely been stopped, although certain departments and Secretaries do issue such legal orders in both the languages.”

“In the absence of such English versions, a lot of hardships are being faced in the litigation before Gujarat High Court and Supreme Court by all the parties i.e., Hon’ble Judges, petitioners and respondents. Because of laxity on the part of Government Officers, lakhs of rupees are being spent by poor litigants in the exercise of the translation of the concerned State Government documents not timely translated by the issuing authorities. When there is correspondence between Gujarat State and Government of India and other States, in the absence of English versions, a lot of embarrassment is being felt frequently by all the parties,” the representation adds.

First published on: 01-10-2022 at 04:33:37 pm
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