Delhi High Court
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Delhi High Court: In a case where a detenue filed for quashing of his detention order on the grounds of violation of constitutional mandate as laid down in Article 22 (5), a Division Bench of Siddharth Mridul and Rajnish Bhatnagar JJ., set aside the detention order as detenue is illiterate and the detention order must have been explained to him either in Hindi or any vernacular language, if he speaks or understands. Thus, the fact that he signed in English is not sufficient to form an opinion that he has full understanding of the language.

The present writ petition was filed under Article 226 read with Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) seeking quashing of the impugned detention order passed by the Joint Secretary, Govt. of India u/s 3 (1) of Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988 (PITNDPS) and anorder passed by the Deputy Secretary, Govt. of India u/s 9(f) of the PITNDPS confirming the detention order for a period of one year.

Counsel for detenue submitted that there was no need to detain the detenue under PITNDPS as he is already in custody in a case under the stringent provisions of NDPS Act and there is no likelihood of his release from custody in the near future.

He further submitted that the detenue being an illiterate person, the order of detention was not properly communicated to detenue as the same is in English language.

The State opposed the petition contending that the detenuestated that “CD and CDR would be seen by his advocate” which goes to show that he understood everything, having the assistance of his advocate. It was further submitted that all the documents were signed by the detenue in “English” which clearly shows that the detenue understood the contents of the documents supplied and made the representation signed by his advocate.

Placing reliance on Chaju Ram v. State of Jammu & Kashmir, (1970) 1 SCC 536, Nainmal Partap Mal Shah v. Union of India, (1980) 4 SCC 427, Haribandhu Dass v. District Magistrate, Cuttack, (1969) 1 SCR 227, the Court noted that simply because the detenue has put his signatures in English does not by any stretch of imagination shows that he understands English and as a consequence understood the grounds of detention.

The Court further noted that the manner in which the signatures of the detenue were obtained on the documents, leaves no shadow of doubt that the contents of any of the documents/detention order were explained to the detenue in vernacular or the language that the detenue understands, i.e., Hindi. The detaining authority was under an obligation to communicate to the detenue the grounds of detention effectively and fully in a language in the present case “Hindi”, which the detenue understood even if that entailstranslation of the grounds to the language known to the detenue.

Thus, the Court held that where a detenue is illiterate, the mandate of Article 22(5) would be served only if the grounds of detention are explained to the detenue in a language that he understands, so as to enable him to avail the fundamental right of making an effective representation.

[Sharafat Sheikh v. UOI, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 2725, decided on 02-09-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case:

Mr. Tanmaya Mehta, Ms. Shreya Gupta, Mr. Anurag Sahay and Ms. Mallika Bhatia, Advocates, for the Petitioner;

Mr. Chetan Sharma, ASG with Mr. Ajay Digpaul, CGSC with Mr. Soumava Karmakar, Mr. Kamal Digpaul with Mr. Rakesh Duhan, Inspector, Narcotics Cell, Crime Branch, Advocates, for the defendant.


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

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court: The Division Bench of Sabina and Manoj Kumar Vyas, JJ. dismissed the appeal and upheld the impugned order.

Facts

The facts of the case are such that the Appellants Mahender Parasar and Gajanand Meena have also filed an appeal challenging the order passed by the learned Single Judge alleging that they possess the qualification of B.A. (Additional) English and had been ousted from the selection process initiated vide Advertisement dated 31.07.2018.

Submissions

Counsel for the appellants submitted that As per Ordinance 203-I, for Bachelor of Arts, appellants had got additional degree in English by taking all the papers in one year after completing their graduation degree. The marks obtained by the candidates in additional examination were liable to be counted along with the marks obtained by them in their graduation degree. Thereafter, the appellants did their Bachelor in Education with English as a teaching subject. As per Ordinance 322 of the University of Rajasthan relating to B. Ed. qualification, a candidate, who had taken Bachelor’s Degree from the University, shall be eligible for admission to the examination for the degree of Bachelor of Education. As per Note (v) of the said Ordinance, the additional optional subject of Bachelor’s Degree Examination in which a candidate passes in one year with all the papers prescribed for the three years course after obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree may be treated as a teaching subject. The marks obtained by the candidate in the additional optional subject would be taken into the account along with marks obtained at the Bachelor’s Degree for determining his eligibility for admission to B. Ed. course.

Counsel for the respondents submitted that the candidates, who had qualified language examination by way of the additional subject after taking all the three examinations in one year, were not entitled to be considered for the post of Language Teacher, as they had not studied language subject for three years while doing graduation degree.

Observations

The Court relied on judgment Govt. of NCT of Delhi v. Sachin Gupta, 2013 SCC OnLine Del 3045 observed as per the Rules, for the teacher of language for Class VI to Class VIII, the candidate must have passed graduation or equivalent examination with the corresponding language as an optional subject. Thus, the rule itself is clear that the candidate must have passed graduation with corresponding language as an optional subject. Advertisements dated 11.09.2017 and 31.07.2018 have also been issued in terms of Amended Rule 266(3) of the Rules and a condition has been incorporated in the advertisements that for the teacher of language for Class VI to Class VIII, the candidate must have passed graduation or equivalent examination with the corresponding language as an optional subject.

The Court also observed that although as per Ordinance 203-I, Clause (8)(i), a candidate who has passed the graduation has been permitted to take examination in any one of the optional subject in a subsequent year, if he is not registered for any other examination of the University in the same year. Such a candidate will be given a certificate to that effect and would be required to appear in all the papers of that subject in one and the same year. The said additional optional subject has also been treated as a teaching subject for Bachelor of Education course as per Ordinance 322 reproduced above. But the fact remains that so far as the rules are concerned, the fact that a person who qualifies the concerned language by way of additional optional subject after qualifying Bachelor’s Degree, would also be eligible to be appointed as a language teacher for Class VI to Class VIII, is not specifically reflected in the Rules. Rather as per the Rules, for the teacher of language, the candidate must have passed graduation with the corresponding language as an optional subject. Thus, the requirement of the rule is that a candidate must have studied the subject concerned as an optional subject for three years while pursuing graduation course. In case the State wanted that a candidate, who had got one year additional degree in the subject concerned, was also eligible for appointment as a teacher in the said language, the necessary addition to this effect would have been made in the Rules.

Decision

The Court thus held “After carefully examining the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the opinion that the learned Single Judge had, thus, rightly allowed the writ petitions filed by private respondents keeping in view the relevant rules. Learned Single Judge had rightly held that the candidates, who had acquired certificate/degree as “additional” in the concerned subject were liable to be excluded from the select list. The candidates, who were in possession of graduate degree as optional subject of three years Bachelor’s Degree with English as an optional subject in all the three years, were to be treated as eligible and entitled for appointment to the post of Teacher Grade-III Level-II (English), as per their merit. The advertisements-in-question have also been issued as per Amended Rule 266(3) of the Rules.”

In view of the above, appeals were dismissed.[Pawan Swaroop v. State of Rajasthan, D. B. Civil Special Appeal (Writ) No. 1143/2018, decided on 25-03-2021]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: While deciding upon the challenge to the grant of ‘Classical’ status to languages like Telugu, Kannada, Odiya, Malayalam etc., the Division Bench of S.K. Kaul, C.J., and R. Mahadevan, J., refused to interfere with the declaration of granting ‘classical’ status to the aforementioned languages stating that the Court will not convert itself into a forum to decide such issues.

The Central Government took a policy decision to confer the status of ‘classical’ to some eminent languages on certain grounds namely; antiquity, a valuable body of ancient literature, original literary tradition and a distinction between the classical language and literature with that of its modern offshoots. The petitioner appearing for himself, contended before the Court that except Tamil and Sanskrit, none of the aforementioned languages meet the criteria laid down by the Government. As per the petitioner, Tamil has a vintage literature of around 1500 years. The respondent represented by G. Rajagopalan, put forth before the Court that the question that whether the aforementioned languages have rightly earned the status of ‘classical language’ must be decided by the Committee of Linguistic Experts and not the Court.

Perusing the contentions, the Bench agreed with the respondents that it is for the experts to verify whether the languages satisfy the norms laid down by the Government or not and the Court can only scrutinize that whether the test laid down by the Government was followed or not while declaring a language to be classical. Refusing to accept the pleas of the petitioner, the Court observed that the Court cannot go into the details of the opinions and findings of the expert body which confers the status of classical language. The Court further stated that declaration of a language as ‘classical’ is more about providing financial assistance to protect and enhance the growth of the language. Declining to agree with the petitioner’s contention that the prominence of Tamil will be lost in the light of the declaration, the Court observed that, “prominence of a language does not depend on the development or fall of other language, rather, the growth and importance can be attributed only to usage of the language and creative contribution in the forms of arts and literature.” [R. Gandhi v. The Secretary to the Government2016 SCC OnLine Mad 8898,  decided on 08.08.2016]