It’s Time that Hindi Got Honour in the High Courts and the Supreme Court

A few days back a petition was filed in the Supreme Court against the 11th May notification of the Government of Haryana which said that Hindi should be used in all Courts and Tribunals of the state. To the great relief of the people, the Supreme Court junked the petition. Dismissing the Petition, a bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy asked the petitioner as to what was wrong with the law which allowed the vehicle of justice to be in their own native language as around 80% of the litigants do not understand English. The Bench commended the State by observing obiter dicta that ‘it is fair for the state to bring such law. Even, during the British Rule, the recording of evidence was done in vernacular language’. The Apex Court ruled that the amendment in the ‘official language act does not violate, in any manner, the fundamental rights.
Before that, on the 19th of December Delhi High Court passed an important order for replacing more than 400 Arabic and Persian words with Hindi words. This order of the Delhi High Court is in conformity with the constitutional provisions. Most of these Arabic and Persian words are incomprehensible but the irony is that these words are still being used in Hindi speaking states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.
Let us see what is the constitutional provision with regard to Hindi? Article 351 of the Constitution imposes a duty on the Union Government for development of Hindi language. It says that ‘ it shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as the medium of expression for all elements of the composite culture and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages.’
Article 343 (1) says: The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devnagari script. Article 344 (2) ordains that it shall be the duty of the Commission ( Commission and Committee of Parliament on official language) to make recommendations to the President as to- (a) the progressive use of the Hindi language for the official purpose of the union.
Thus the Constitution makes it clear that (a) the Hindi in Devnagari script will be the official language and not the English ; (b) the form and style of Hindi will be Hindustani, in other words, Khari Boli; and (c) it will draw upon its vocabulary from Sanskrit. The reason being Sanskrit is the mother of almost all Indian languages. It is undoubtedly the oldest language of the world because it has been universally accepted that Rigveda, written in Sanskrit is the oldest book of the world.
The biggest damage to Hindi has been caused more by Hindi journalists and the so-called progressive litterateurs, who for the reasons best known to them only, prefer to use plenty of Arabic and Persian words. They think that these words would make their writings more elegant. This type of adulteration tends to drive the people of non-Hindi speaking areas away from Hindi areas. There is not an iota of doubt that Hindi, which draws from rich dialects and Sanskrit has got the widest acceptability. Such Hindi is more liked and understood not only in India but also in countries like Bagla Desh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar etc. than the Hindi, interspersed with Arabic and Persian words. Borrowing the words from different languages is one thing and deliberate contamination of the language is an altogether different matter. Thus the contribution of such Hindi teachers, litterateurs and journalists, who always championed the cause of the bastardization of the language has been almost next to nil.
Further, it betrays the colossal ignorance of such persons about the Constitution of India, who are in the habit of putting dots under certain words to harmonies their pronunciation with Arabic and Persian words. This is absurd to the extreme. The Constitution speaks of the Hindi in Devnagari, which allows for the use of dots only on the top of the alphabets, to sound them like ‘N’. For example, while writing the words like ‘paryant’, ‘ant’ or ‘aatank, the dot is used between two alphabets.
The Union government will, therefore, do well to amend Article 348 of the Constitution of India so that Hindi could be made the language of all High Courts along with English and the language of the concerned state. However, in the Supreme Court, it should be Hindi and English, which can be progressively withdrawn in the span of ten years. It is no logic that the judges and advocates coming from non-speaking states will be handicapped because they will not have the parity with those coming from the Hindi belt. One fails to understand that if these judges and advocates can master English without it being their first language why can’t they gain proficiency in Hindi?
It may sound strange but it is a fact that yeoman service to Hindi journalism and even to Hindi literature has been rendered by the non-Hindi speaking great persons like Dayanand Saraswati, Keshav Chandra Sen, Neta ji Subhash Chandra Bose, Mahatama Gandhi, Rangeya Raghav, Baba Vishnu Rao Paradkar, Laxmi Narayan Garde, Vidya Bhaskar, Madhu Limaye, Veer Savarkar, Rajaji, Baba Saheb Ambedkar and many others, who were involved in some or other movements. It will not be out of place to mention that the late Socialist leader Madhu Limaye was the first person in the country who insisted on arguing his case ‘Madhu Limaye versus Ved Murti’ (1970) 3 SCC page 738. Which was also reported in AIR, 1971, SC Page 2481.
There is no doubt that with the introduction of Hindi in the courts will not only improve the quality of judgements but it will also help accelerate the process of the speed of justice, which, at present, is slower than a snail. Therefore, Hindi will get its pride of place only when it can blossom in the High Courts, Supreme Court and various other national level Commissions and Tribunals. Hindi is also associated with the national honour and identity of the country throughout the world. This honour to Hindi in the High Courts and the Supreme Court can be given only by a non-speaking leader like Narendra Modi and not by effete leaders of Hindi belt, who always suffer from the inferiority complex of image building.