The Gujarat High Court Advocates Association has seeked the governor’s intervention for the introduction of the Gujarati language besides English in proceedings before the Gujarat high court.
According to constitutional provisions, HC rules and a judicial order, the language used in the HC is English only. The GHAA in representation on the eve of Independence Day requested the governor to allow Gujarati along with English for court proceedings, under the provisions of Article 348 (2). It also gave the example of Madhya Pradesh where Hindi is used by the means of special powers in high court.
GHAA president Asim Pandya appealed on the 75th anniversary of Independence saying that it is unfortunate that the British left India but we are still slaves to the British mindset and the English language. He believes it is about time that Gujarati language is officially permitted as the other language besides English in court proceedings.
The Bar further added that it is not really justice to keep English as the official language in the court when most of the people do not speak, understand or read English. This is denying our citizens’ right to know and understand legal proceedings.
The argument that has been stated is that it is heavy on the pocket to get Gujarati documents translated into English. As per Gujarat HC rules of 1993, the court insists on translated copies of documents in the vernacular, which turns out to be a big problem. GHAA says that the insistence on translation for most government documents, without an official translation department in the country, is unjust, improper and arbitrary. He said that litigants are helpless as there is no official translation available to them.
Albeit the High Court allows a litigant who appears-in-person to file pleadings in Gujarati, there is a judicial order which prohibits the document to be presented in local language. This has created a chaotic situation, which was unforeseen by the makers of the Constitution. Bar also argued that this process has been made expensive for the litigants. It is a deterrent in fundamental right of access to justice.