THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 18 June 2020 (Language of Justice (The Hindu))

Language of Justice (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 2:Polity
Prelims level: Official Language Act
Mains level: Highlights the amendment of the Official Language Act


  • The Haryana government in May notified an amendment to its Official Language Act, brought in to compulsorily mandate the use of Hindi in subordinate courts and tribunals across the state.
  • The move, as per the chief minister’s statement to the Assembly, was to ensure that people get justice in their own language, thereby making the judicial system more litigant friendly.
  • Although there was never a bar on the use of Hindi in Haryana’s courts, English had been the preferred choice in many courts and districts.

Institutional inheritance:

  • Our legal system is an institutional inheritance from the time of the British Raj — the English language, thus, is part of an inextricablefoundation.
  • Such was the familiarity with English for official work that post-Independence, the Constituent Assembly chose to retain it, in addition to Hindi, as the Official Language of the Union.
  • Further, Article 348 of the Constitution was .....................................


Wide presence of English:

  • There is no gainsaying the fact that more people in Haryana understand Hindi better than they do English.
  • But conflatingcolloquialconvenience with the technical exactituderequired for the application of law — most of which is in English — may lead to counterproductive results.
  • It is important to note that Haryana’s own State Judicial Examination continues to be conducted in English, with Hindi only being a separate paper.
  • Moreover, the Bar Council of India’s Rules of Legal Education prescribe English as the default medium of instruction for all law courses.
  • And even those institutions which seek to allow instruction in another language are required to conduct a compulsory examination for English proficiency.
  • Major laws, judicial precedents, commentaries and other legal resources are all primarily available in English only.

Practical standpoint:

  • Amendment does envisage six months for building infrastructure and for training staff.
  • It is unlikely to be adequate time for lawyers and judges to effectively re-equip themselves without compromising on the quality of justice itself.
  • Interestingly, in 2007, the law commission had s.............................



  • What is required is not an abrupt imposition of governmental choice, but the gradual creation of an atmosphere for all stakeholders to move towards adopting the language in their own interest.
  • And in the interest of a fairer system of justice — the SC’s move to make its judgments available in regional languages is a case in point.
  • Of course, changes in attitudes, systems and institutions take time, but these will also offer a far more sustainable, just and efficient manner of giving shape to the Haryana government’s stated intention.

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Prelims Questions:

Q1. With reference to the Ramon Magsaysay awards, consider the following statements:
1. It is given to individuals and organizations in Asia and Europe.
2. Awardees are presented with a certificate and a medal.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: .................................


Mains Questions:
Q1. Do you think the role of language ...............................?