ENGLISH AND LEGISLATION
India is a country in which people living in different parts having their own languages. The regional languages are quite different from one another. Every few kilometers language changes in India. The leaders and the administrators of the country cannot remain in contact with all these regions without a common language. It is not possible for everyone to know ten or fourteen languages. In this competitive world, the legal professionals and the litigants expect that their concerns are communicated and conveyed through
effective ideas and expressions before a Court of law in a language that fulfils the duality of communication and clarity of understanding. The genius of any human expression emanates from the spark that is ignited by ideas, whatever be the language employed to communicate the same. This obviously requires a common thread to bind the people with the law which serves the dual purpose of comprehension and progression in the modern world.
LANGUAGE OF COURT
The earliest languages use in Indian courts consisted of scripts from Urdu Farsi to Persian changing with the sovereigns in the Mughal period which continued to subordinate the courts up until the British rule. Codified system of law was brought to India by the Britishers making Hindi in devnagari script as the official language of the union in the post- independence era. However it mandated that English will be continued for all official purposes of the union for 15 years from commencement of constitution of India.
In 1963 the official languages act was enacted providing that notwithstanding the expiration of 15 years as provided in the constitution, English language may be continued to be in use alongside Hindi, or the official language of the state. Section 7 of the Act, states that the use of the Hindi or official language of a State, in addition to the English language, maybe authorized with the consent of the President of India, by the Governor of the State for purpose of judgments, decree or order made by the High Court of that State. The conclusion derived from the collective reading of Article 348 of the Constitution and the Official Languages Act, 1963, is that English continues to remain the actual official language with respect to the Acts of Parliament and the Courts.
As of today, English is the language of the Supreme Court and high court as provided for by the Indian constitution. As per Article 348 (1) of the Constitution of India, English is the official language for all the high courts. However as per Clause (2) of Article 348, the Governor of a state, with the previous consent of President of India, can authorize use of official language of the state in proceedings before its high court. States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have already authorized the use of Hindi in proceedings with the approval of the president. As of 2018 Punjab and Haryana high court also await the president’s approval. Taking cue Tamil Nadu is also working in the direction of authorizing Tamil before its courts.
With the foregoing discussion, a clear conclusion about importance of an unified English language in legislation manifests. Language has always been an emotive issue in India and spectre of introduction of respective official languages of the states in 25 different high courts resolution in heavy repercussions for the Indian judicial system. A hitherto unified and well- structured legal system within the country might as well disintegrate in the game of lingual one-upmanship by the states.
In this wake, the official languages act provides that the union government shall use both Hindi and English in most administrative documents that are intended for the public.
Communications within different departments maybe in English as English text remains authoritative though a translation in other languages may be provided.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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