The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday issued a notice to the Haryana government on a petition challenging the Haryana Official Language (Amendment) Act, 2020, which makes the use of Hindi language mandatory in all lower courts across the state.
The division bench of Justices Rajan Gupta and Karamjit Singh issued a notice to the state government for June 29 after hearing the petitioner Sameer Jain.
The petitioners — Sameer Jain and others — have challenged the amendment made to the law by Haryana government on May 11. The state Vidhan Sabha had passed the amended bill in March and a notification making it a law was issued last month.
According to the government, the decision was made after a demand was made by 78 MLAs and hundreds of lawyers that Hindi needs to be used in courts to help the citizens of Haryana understand the judicial process in their own language and allow them to express themselves before courts easily.
According to the provision added to the law by way of the amendment, “work shall be performed in Hindi language in all civil courts and criminal courts in Haryana subordinate to the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, in all revenue courts and rent tribunals, or in any other court or tribunal appointed by the state government”.
Advocate Jain, during the hearing, contended that the objective of such a decision is not clear and has no “rational nexus” to any object sought to be achieved. “The notification is discriminatory in nature and violates Section 19(1)g of the Constitution of India,” he said.
Submitting that Section 30 of the Advocates Act, 1961, gives him a right to practice all over India, Jain also submitted that some lawyers may not be able to do so as all law colleges teach in English medium, and Hindi version of the legal terminologies are not known.
The amendment was earlier this month challenged before the Supreme Court too with the petitioners, different lawyers from Delhi, UP and Haryana, arguing that the decision will be adversarial for those who come from different states and settle in Haryana but do not know Hindi.
However, the apex court refused to intervene that time in the petition and asked petitioners to approach the HC, after the Haryana government submitted that the law under challenge was a state law.
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