Case in SC: What should be language of trial courts?

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NEW DELHI: The SC on Monday dithered for a while on a tricky question - what should be the language for judicial work of subordinate courts in states - the vernacular language, English or both?
The question was raised before a bench of


S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy in a PIL filed by advocate Sameer Jain and others, who challenged the


government's recent order that the state's subordinate judiciary would carry out its work in Hindi and not English. Jain said it violated a lawyer's fundamental right to practise in any court in India as those not proficient in Hindi would be barred by default from practising before trial courts in Haryana.
Initially, the bench was inclined to entertain the plea as Jain said there was a pending petition where the court was examining

Tamil Nadu

government's decision that subordinate judiciary should perform its work in Tamil language. But advocate Arun Bharadwaj interjected and said the


and Haryana high court would be in a better position to examine the issue. The bench agreed.
When Jain persisted about his fundamental right, the bench said there was no such fundamental right. "If you pitch your arguments...we will dismiss the petition with a finding that there is no such fundamental right and no right under Article 19 is violated. Even during the British period, the subordinate courts used to take evidence in vernacular language. You go and challenge in Punjab and Haryana HC," the CJI said.
"We are not saying you are wrong. A large section of lawyers and judicial officers, who are trained in English, would find it difficult to work in Hindi. But the lawyer can always seek permission from the subordinate court to argue in English," the CJI said.
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