Published on: 23 December 2022 at 11:45 IST
It is really most heartening, most refreshing and most enriching to learn from various news reports that the Haryana State Government led by the Chief Minister Hon’ble Mr Manoharlal Khattar as reported widely in most national newspapers so widely on December 13, 2022 has decided in the larger interests of the people at large especially those in the rural areas that the lower Courts and so also the Tribunals in Haryana will now start issuing the orders in Hindi from April 1, 2023. Of course, it merits no reiteration that this will greatly enable the common person whether men or women who is not well versed in English language to go into the details and understand the intricacies and finer points of the judgment more easily! It must be mentioned here that this was revealed by the State Government after the Governor of Haryana– Bandaru Dattatraya approved the notification.
For esteemed readers exclusive benefit, it must be mentioned here that an official spokesperson in a statement said that the information, public relations and languages department of Haryana had issued the notification, which will be applicable from April 1, 2023.
Most commendably, we must note that the official spokesperson of the Haryana State Government further hastened to add stating very rightly that, “The government has taken this decision keeping in mind the convenience of the public. As the objective of justice in a democracy is that the litigant should get speedy justice in his own language and he should not remain speechless during the proceedings.” No denying it!
There can be certainly no gainsaying that this must be the essential and mandatory norm in every State that judgments must be in the local language also apart from English so that the people who don’t understand English at all are able to read the judgment in the language in which they understand best and know exactly as to what the Court has ruled in the case in which they are litigating in the Court and not remain in the dark as to what the judgment is all about.
This was underscored most vocally with eloquence by former CJI NV Ramana and so also by his successor ex CJI UU Lalit and so words cannot be sufficient to describe its paramount importance to make justice truly accessible to the common person!
While adding more to it, the official spokesperson said that Punjab had also amended the law to introduce Punjabi in all civil and criminal courts subordinate to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
It deserves to be mentioned here that a similar amendment has also been brought in the Haryana Official Language Act, 1969 to provide that the work in all the courts, subordinate to the High Court and all the Tribunals constituted by the State Government will be done in Hindi.
In hindsight, it may be recalled that quite glaringly we saw how a similar provision was brought in Punjab in 1969 when the Punjab Official Language Act, 1967 was amended by the Punjab Act No. 11 of 1969 which added Sections 3A and 3B stipulating clearly that work in all civil courts and so also criminal courts subordinate to the Punjab and Haryana High Court and all revenue courts and tribunals will be done in Punjabi.
It must be mentioned here that the approval of the Governor of Haryana followed the State Cabinet’s resolution passing the Haryana Official Language (Amendment) Act, 2020. As per Section 1(2) of the Amendment Act, a new provision, namely Section 3-A has been inserted in the Haryana Official Language Act, 1969.
It merits mentioning here that Section 3-A with the heading titled “Use of Hindi in Courts and Tribunals” stipulate that, “In all Civil Courts and Criminal Courts in Haryana subordinate to the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, all Revenue Courts and Rent Tribunals or any other court or tribunal constituted by the State Government, shall be done in the Hindi language.” Very rightly so!
Furthermore, it must be mentioned here that in addition Sub-section (2) of the newly inserted provision further states that, “The State Government shall provide the requisite infrastructure and training of staff within six months of the commencement of the Haryana Official Language (Amendment) Act, 2020.”
As per the Department of Information, Public Relations and Languages, Government of Haryana, the decision has been taken keeping in mind the convenience of the public and to ensure the objective of justice in a democracy.
This is exactly what must be the pre-requisite also that what ensures the convenience of the public is given the topmost priority and justice serves the true purpose for which it is meant also by which the public gains for whom it is actually meant also so that they don’t just grope in the dark unable to comprehend even slightly what the judgment is all about! No denying it!
Needless to say, this alone explains why even the former CJI while batting for language of the people had said most elegantly, eloquently and effectively which forms the sum and substance also of the growing demand for judgments to be available in Hindi and regional languages that, “The parties must understand the ongoing court process and the development of their case.
It should not be like chanting mantras in a wedding, which most of us do not understand. From time to time, there have been demands from various regions to allow the use of local language in the proceedings before the high courts as provided for under Article 348 of the Constitution.
We have the duty of upholding and enforcing the constitutional values. It is, no doubt, a heavy burden. But it is one that we have gladly chosen on the day we took our constitutional oath.
This is the reason why strengthening judicial institutions has been my top priority. Strengthening the judiciary is imperative for a democracy, sustained on the rule of law. Dispensing justice is not only a constitutional duty, but also a social one.”
All said and done, the learned, laudable, logical, landmark and latest decision by the Haryana Government led by Chief Minister Shri Manohar Lal Khattar to make available court orders from April 1, 2023 even in Hindi too is most commendable, courageous and creditworthy step taken in the right direction.
It will definitely make sure that even a layman understands the whole judgment in its entirety which is a right historic step in the right direction! There can be just no denying or disputing it!
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate
Meerut, Uttar Pradesh.