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Use of vernacular in Gujarat HC: Advocates’ body chief quits over differences with members

The advocates’ association had announced on Sept 30 that it has kept in abeyance the demand for using Gujarati as an additional language in proceedings at the HC, after members appeared to be divided on the matter.

Senior advocate Asim Pandya. (Express photo)

Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association (GHAA) president Asim Pandya tendered his resignation to its managing committee on Monday noting that he has been “unable to convince” himself on giving up his campaign to make Gujarati an additional language for court proceedings at the Gujarat High Court.

The GHAA, in a press note issued on September 30 by designated senior advocate Pandya, had announced that it has kept in abeyance its demand for using Gujarati as an additional language in proceedings at the high court, after advocates appeared to be divided on the matter.

Pandya had made a representation to the state governor on September 8 seeking the addition of Gujarati for proceedings at the HC. Though the communication was on a GHAA letterhead, he later clarified that the representation to the governor was in a personal capacity.

In his resignation letter, Pandya has stated that given his personal ideology on the matter is “in conflict with the views of the majority members of our association”, he would rather give up his post as president of the association “than the personal ideology, which is in the larger interest of litigants and the legal system.”

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Pandya added in his resignation letter that he is “unable to appreciate the arguments” made by fellow advocates of the HC on why the association must not press for adding Gujarati. Stating that some of the arguments that have been made against his campaign include that allowing Gujarati in addition to English “will result in sacrificing the dignity and decorum of the institution and an imaginary fear that trial court lawyers will storm into High Court of Gujarat for carrying on their practice”, Pandya has requested the managing committee to instead accept his resignation.

Pandya has added that he anticipates opposition from GHAA members for his next campaign to seek restoration of the original system evolved by the Bombay Bar Association of recognising senior advocates having reasonably good practice and accepting them on the roll of Senior Advocates on a voluntary basis, and to do away with a “subjective” set of criteria for designating Senior Advocates, instead basing such designation on “objective criteria only.” In anticipation of future opposition, Pandya has implored that it is in his interest to “resign from the post and pursue my individual ideologies free from any restrictions.”

First published on: 03-10-2022 at 11:51:56 am
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