One will have to admire the honesty of the Chief Justice of India for his confession of being a non-sophisticated speaker in the English language. In fact, what he has said about himself is truer about most of the lawyers and judges of the country. Only a minuscule minority having had the privilege of getting an education from the top schools can boast of fairly good command over the English language. Regrettably, those lawyers who possess proficiency in the English language, get undue importance in the Supreme Court even by those judges, who have had their schoolings through their mother tongues.
Most of us have started learning English as one of the subjects when we were admitted to the sixth standard. Most of the students in village schools used to bid farewell to the English after somehow passing the eighth standard. In most Law Colleges the medium of instruction is either Hindi or regional languages. There is nothing wrong with it, rather it should be appreciated that our dependence on the English has vanished in state sooner than later.
For those who come to practice in the Supreme Court, their comprehension of the English language is no better, although they will demonstrate their vociferous opposition to the Hindi language for no genuine rhyme and reason. I have seen a High Court judge practising in the Supreme Court after his retirement and speaking like, ‘he did not went’ instead of ‘he did not go’. I can say with all the emphasis at my command that those coming from non-Hindi speaking areas can master Hindi with even one-fourth of the effort that they put into learning half-baked English.
In this regard, some constitutional changes are required to be made. Article 348 speaks of only English to be the language of the Supreme Court and the High Courts. However, 348(2) of the Constitution provides that (2) Notwithstanding anything in sub-clause (a) of clause (1), the Governor 1 *** of a State may, with the previous consent of the President, authorise the use of the Hindi language, or any other language used for any official purposes of the State, in proceedings in the High Court having its principal seat in that State: Provided that nothing in this clause shall apply to any judgment, decree or order passed or made by such High Court.
Taking advantage of this proviso in many of the states Hindi has been made the language of their High Courts. But for bringing about the desired change in the Supreme Court, it is the Parliament of India, which has to step in. Even otherwise also, English was to be used as the language of communication, as per Article 346, with the non-Hindi speaking state only for 15 years and that period was over long back.
This is the time that when a predominantly large number of Parliamentarians and judges are Hindi speakers, the Hindi should be given the pride of place in all spheres. During the last seventy-five years, Hindi has obtained acceptability, not only in the
country but in many countries across the world. Prime Minister Modi, who is an enviable speaker in Hindi, can help make Hindi the official Lingua Franca of the country. His government has already given importance to Hindi and other languages for imparting education in the New Education Policy. We hope that the English would be replaced in the Supreme Court and other High Courts under Modi’s leadership. He will be remembered by the posterity for this revolutionary step as it will provide freshness to arguments, judgments and jurisprudence in the Supreme Court and the High Courts.

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