Gujarat High Court. In a Criminal Revision Application before it under Section 397 r/w Section 401 of Cr.P.C., where the applicant wanted to appear party-in-person and present and argue his case in Hindi before the High Court and had also brought another friend to assist in Gujarati, the High Court decided against allowing use of any language other than English to be used in the proceedings before the Court.

The High Court held that Article 348(1); and (2) of the Constitution of India r/w Rule 31A and 37 of the Gujarat High Court Rules, 1993 clearly lay down that no language other than English could be used in a proceeding before it since the Language of the Court under Article 348(1); is English and Article 348(2) allows any other language to be used only if there is authorization by the Governor with previous consent of the President of India to this effect. However there is no such previous authorization of the Governor, in effect, in State of Gujarat. The High Court also held that Rule 31A of Gujarat High Court allows a party-in-person to assist the Court only if he has the ability to both understand and express in English. The Court can, in specific cases, allow written submissions to be in Gujarati as laid down in Rule 37; however, oral submissions have always to be in English only, which is the language of the Court under Article 348(1); of the Constitution.

The Court also relied on various Supreme Court judgments to drive home its point viz. Dr. Vijay Laxmi Sadho v. Jagdish (2001) 2 SCC 247, where the Governor of M.P., under Article 348(2), with the consent of the President, had authorized use of Hindi language in the court proceedings. So the language could be thus used.

However, in Madhu Limaye v. Ved Murti (1970) 3 SCC 738, when Mr. Raj Narain insisted for arguing in Hindi and the learned advocate for the other side and the members of the Bench were unable to understand his argument in Hindi, the Supreme Court provided three options and since none was acceptable to him, his intervention was cancelled.  Manish Kanaiyalal Gupta v. State of Gujarat 2015 SCC OnLine Guj 932, decided on 8.07.2015

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One comment

  • Language used must be completely comprehensible to both the bench , and the opposite party. If the bench cannot fathom the nuances of the language, how can it deliver the verdict? Same applies to opposite party, it must not be handicapped by language in it's quest for justice.All other opinions inconsequential

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