Language Row at Madras High Court, Tamil Nadu

(Hindi in Madras High Court?)

K.S. Kumaresan
Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, February 2013 (ID. 2013-02-01)
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It has been the longtime demand of the government of Tamil Nadu, lawyers of Tamilnadu and people of Tamil Nadu that Tamil also be the high court language along with English. Madras High Court is the highest court of the State of Tamil Nadu and Tamil is the official language of Tamil Nadu. People should be able file cases in Tamil, argue the cases in Tamil and get judgments in Tamil. Much has been written about it and our demand has been well documented. So we will not dwell on it in this article.

While the demand for Tamil in the Tamil Nadu High Court (that is, Madras High Court) is openly made, there has been a sneak, underhanded attempt to allow Hindi into the Tamil Nadu High Court.

Following many request to allow Tamil in the Madras High Court, in 2007, when Justice A. P. Shah was chief justice of the Madras High Court, the court made a recommendation to make Tamil as language of the court, along with English and Hindi. It was rejected by the Supreme Court. Details and reasons are still kept secret (Times of India, January 3, 2013). It was the same supreme court that allows Hindi in the highcourts of Hindi states. Is Tamil not good enough for the High Court of Tamil Nadu?

This article is not about the supreme court rejection; it may be discussed in another article. This article is asking why did Justice A. P. Shah's court sneaked in the request to allow Hindi also in the Tamil Nadu High Court (Madras High Court)? Neither the people of Tamil Nadu nor the lawyers of Tamil Nadu nor the state government of Tamilnadu asked for Hindi usage in the Madras High Court. Then why this Justice Shah from northern India, most likely knowing Hindi, sneak in a request for Hindi also? This is unacceptable.

In the same way we demand Tamil in our high court, we should be vigilant that Hindi is not sneaked in along with Tamil. We do not have to pay a ransom or price of accepting Hindi also in our court in order to have Tamil in our high court; Tamil Nadu assembly had overwhelmingly voted for the two-language formula--Tamil and English-- and successive state governments had reiterated it.

We accept English in the court as a courtesy for those who do not know Tamil. There is no need for Hindi to make life easier for Hindi speakers wherever they go for work. No one else benefits from introducing Hindi in our high court.

Once Hindi is made a court language, it would be impossible to oust it. So we should make it clear that Hindi is not acceptable here. There is no need to let in strangers into our house when we open the doors for our mother to come in.


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