SC rejects PIL seeking translation of judgments into regional languages


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that sought direction to make the court judgments available in Hindi and other regional languages mentioned in the Schedule VIII of the Constitution.

The PIL was filed by advocate Suhaas R Joshi, who urged SC to give directions to the Registrar General of the Supreme Court to develop mechanisms to translate court judgments into various regional languages.

Joshi had submitted in his petition that non-availability of authentic translations of court judgments was causing immense difficulties for the common people who do not understand English.

The petition stated: “The absence of authoritative translations of the judgments of this Hon’ble Court puts a litigant and his counsel, not learned in English, at a great disadvantage in understanding and obtaining judgments for reliance in a court where proceedings are otherwise conducted in vernacular language/s.

Highlighting how weaker sections of society were exposed to exploitation due to non-availability of judgments in vernacular languages, the petition stated: “The non-availability of the authoritative translations of the judgments of this Hon’ble Court to a litigant or his counsel sets in a situation in the local courts where the weaker parties become vulnerable to manipulation and pressure by the local people with greater wealth, education, and connections, thereby creating asymmetrical power relations.”

However, the plea was rejected by the three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur, Justice A K Sikri, and Justice R Banumathi.

The bench said: We cannot pass such direction as the court language is English.

But, this is not the first time such a plea has been rejected. In January, the government had submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court rejecting the proposal to amend the Constitution and make Hindi the official language in the apex court and the high courts.

The government’s affidavit was in response to a PIL filed by a lawyer, Shiv Sagar Tiwari, who had contended that the use of English as an official language in higher judiciary was a ‘legacy of the British rule’ and hence should be scrapped.