Did they ever challenge the singular use of english in legal and hundreds of other domains in india ?
A group of five advocates named Sameer Jain, Sandeep Bajaj, Angad Sandhu, Suvigya Awasthi and Anant Gupta practicing out of courts of Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh have challenged the constitutionality of the Haryana Official Language (Amendment) Act, 2020 which is contented to be arbitrary in nature because this amendment made hindi as the official language of courts in the state of Haryana.
If we take a look and go back in history, Haryana was separated from Punjab on linguistic basis in 1966. The local language in Haryana was hindi therefore after the separation in 1966, the hindi was declared as the official state language.
On one hand, Hindi was declared as the official state language but on the other hand the legal system was dominated by english. The language which was used by major advocates during trials and legal proceedings was mainly english and the litigants were not able to understand what is happening in his case because the local people of haryana usually don’t understand english, Hence, they used to remain mute spectators during proceedings. It is a reality that Haryana is an economically forward state but it is equally true that the state is socially backward also. People of Haryana have a gruff relationship with English. The common people want to participate in every day to day work including court trials also and this participation would not be meaningful if they don’t understand the language in which the work is being done. Every document including the notice from the court comes in English which they can’t even read properly, even for an application they go from one advocate to the other and pay the required amount and get their work done.
Hindi: As an official language
Article 345: this Article states that, subject to the provisions of article 346 and 347, the legislature of a state may by law adopt any one or more of the languages in use in the state or hindi as the language or languages to be used for all or any of the official purposes of that state; Provided that, until the Legislature of the state otherwise provides by law, the English language shall continue to be used for those official purposes within the state for which it was being used immediately before the commencement of this constitution.
Article 347: this Article states that, On a demand being made in that behalf the president may, if he is satisfied that a substantial proportion of the population of a state desure the use of any language spoken by them to be recognised by that state, direct that such language shall also be officially recognised throughout the state or any part thereof for such purpose as he may specify.
The citizens of Haryana has been facing the language issue since a long time, the purpose of justice was not being served to the citizens due to language barrier, 78 MLAs, Advocate General and hundreds of advocates had expressed their views to introduce hindi as an official language to be used in the subordinate courts of Haryana so that the citizens of Haryana can understand the judicial process in their language and can openly express their views in the court proceedings. By keeping language barrier in mind, the Haryana government came up with the bill to introduce hindi as an official language in the subordinate courts, the bill was further approved by Haryana Cabinet and same was passed by the Vidhan Sabha which pave way for the implementation of the decision. This decision would be considered as the best decision in favour of the accused and victims because now they will get the proper understanding of the judicial proceedings in their own language, thus it will help them to express their views and opinions freely without any language barrier. This decision fulfilled the purpose of justice in a democracy, It is rightly said by the Chief Minister in this statement that “the purpose of justice in a democracy is that the plaintiff should get justice quickly in his own language and should not remain speechless during the proceedings”.
This decision is not only limited to the litigants, it is beneficial for the majority of advocates in Haryana also. There are many advocates in Haryana who do their LLB from the local colleges of Haryana and Rajasthan in Hindi and face problems while arguing in the courts due to English being an official court language. For example: the term Injunction is called Parmadesh in Hindi. Another issue that the Haryana Advocates have been facing is that most of the local advocates do not appear for the Judicial services examination because the examination is conducted in English and english is the mandatory language in the interview also. Therefore this amendment does justice to the people of Haryana.
Haryana Official Language(Amendment) Bill,2020
The amendment to Haryana Official Language Act, 2020 added a new section, Section 3(A), introducing Hindi as the official language to be used for conducting work in all the subordinate courts of Haryana including all the civil and criminal courts subordinate to the High Court of Punjab and Haryana.
As per the the Section 3(A), all the work, proceedings, recording of the courts subordinate to the High Court of Punjab and Haryana will be done in Hindi and this bill also states that the state government will provide the requisite infrastructure along with the training of the staff within 6 months of the commencement of this Haryana Official Language (Amendment) Act, 2020.
This decision is the appropriate decision taken for the well being of the people of Haryana, now the people would have a clear picture about the entire justice process, they would understand what is being recorded in his or her statement in court if the same is recorded in Hindi rather than English. The chief minister of Haryana also added “It is but natural that the predominant
languages should secure their rightful place. Hindi being the predominantly spoken language in the state of Haryana,use of the same for the purposes of working in courts and tribunals subordinate to the High court of Punjab and Haryana has thus become a matter of practical necessity.
On the other side, there are few people mainly litigants who are not in favour of this decision and considered this amendment to be arbitrary in nature, filed the petition in the Supreme Court and contended that the imposition of Hindi as the sole language would result in the differentiation between the lawyers who are fluent in Hindi and lawyers who are not fluent in hindi. They stated that this amendment is a violation to the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India, that is Article 14, “Right To Equality”, Article 19(1)(g) “Freedom to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business”, Article 21. Right to life and personal liberty. They also contended that Haryana is the hub for many multinational companies where people from different strata reside and they are absolutely not fluent in Hindi, they further added that there is a huge difference between a mere understanding of the hindi language and speaking it fluently in the courtroom. It is difficult for those lawyers who have not studied law in Hindi.
After the announcement i have noticed the mixed reactions from the people including litigants also, i think the majority of the people would agree with this statement that, Haryana is
The Honorable Supreme Court refused to entertain the petition filed by the group of five advocates and considered the basis of the arguments irrelevant by stating that the 80% of the total population of Haryana speaks in Hindi, Hindi is their vernacular language, there is nothing unfair in imposing Hindi as the official language in the subordinate courts of Haryana.
A bench headed by the Chief Justice SA Bobde said “During British rule, for recording of evidence the language used in subordinate courts was vernacular language”, then why should the people of Haryana suffer? It is their right to speak and understand things in their vernacular language and imposing Hindi serves justice to their right.CJI also added that there is no such clause which excludes English, English can be used with the due permission of the court.
It can be concluded that the sudden implementation of Hindi would cause trouble to few but benefits the majority of the population of Haryana. As per the response, majority people are happy with this decision and this amendment serves justice in a democratic country like India.