Bombay High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: In a case filed by a student (‘petitioner’) seeking directions to State (‘respondent’) to conduct the Maharashtra Public Service Commission examination in English as well as Marathi language, a Division bench of S.V. Gangapurwala and R.N. Laddha, JJ. directed the respondents to ensure that the next examination to be held for Public Prosecutors must be conducted in English as well as Marathi language in line with the implementation of the policy of State Government of promoting the language of State i.e. Marathi .

Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner has studied only in Marathi language. The proceedings before the Courts of Judicial Magistrate First Class (‘JMFC’) and Civil Judge Junior Division (‘CJJD’) are normally conducted in Marathi language. Further, as Marathi language is a local language, it is incumbent upon the respondent 1 to conduct the examination in English as well as Marathi language. Even the question papers are to be in both Marathi and English language. The MPSC holds the exam for the selection of the JMFC and for the said exam also the question papers are in Marathi as well as English language.

Placing reliance on Prashant P. Giri v. State of Maharashtra, (2010) 5 Mah LJ 206, the Court noted that in this case, it was observed that at least from the next examination for selection of the subordinate Judicial Officers in the State of Maharashtra, the facility be made available for answering the question paper in Marathi language. Twelve years have passed by and it cannot be comprehended that even after 12 years, the Government is still searching for the examiners to assess the answer papers in Marathi language.

The Court remarked “the Government ought to have been serious in implementing the said judgments in its letter and spirit. The Government cannot say that for the examination of the JMFC facility can be provided for answering in Marathi language and for the examination of Public Prosecutor the same facility would not be provided.”

The Court opined that as the examinations now are scheduled on 11-09-2022 and there are about 7700 candidates, and no other candidate has raised objection for answering the question paper in Marathi language, thus the prayer cannot be granted for the present examination.

However, the Court held that the respondents shall ensure that the next examination to be held for Public Prosecutors shall be conducted in English as well as Marathi language.

[Pratap Prakash Jadhav v. State of Maharashtra, 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 2232, decided on 07-09-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Alankar Kirpekar a/w Sushmit Phatale, Mr. Nikhil Adkine, Dynaesh Patil and Mr. Aditya Raktade i/by Metanshu R. Purandare. Mrs. M.P. Thakur, AGP for the State.

*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: A Bench comprising of S.A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao, JJ. allowed a set of appeals filed against the order of Madras High Court whereby it had allocated 196 grace marks to all candidates who appeared for National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test-UG 2018 examination in Tamil regional language.

In NEET-UG 2018, bi-lingual questions were set in English with an option of additional regional language. The paper consisted of 180 questions; four marks were granted for each correct answer and one mark was deducted for every wrong answer. After the exam, some students filed a writ petition before the Madras High Court. The Court noticed mistranslations in the Tamil version in 49 questions. The High Court decided to give 4 grace marks for each incorrectly translated question to nearly 24,000 students who wrote the exam in Tamil. As a result, each of such students was entitled to a total of 196 grace marks. Aggrieved thereby, instant appeals were preferred by CBSE and other students.

The Supreme Court held the High Court’s order to be manifestly arbitrary, unjustified and unsustainable. The Court observed that students appearing for the NEET-UG applied for admission in MBBS/BDS courses which are taught entirely in English. The expert committee which had set the examination had given clear instructions that require the students to refer to the English version in case of ambiguity. Knowledge of the subject in English was an implied required. It was noted that there was no grievance regarding any difficulty about the questions in English. It was observed that words with imprecise meaning could have been easily discovered to be faulty and a simple reference to the English version would have clarified the same. The Court held that the students of NEET-UG 2018 were unduly benefitted only because they opted to give the exam in Tamil. In such circumstances, the order of the High Court was set aside and the appeals were allowed. Also, it was directed that from the year 2019-20 onwards, NEET-UG will be conducted by the National Testing Agency.[C.B.S.E v. T.K. Rangarajan,2018 SCC OnLine SC 2526, decided on 22-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

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