According to reports, judgments of the Supreme Court will be available in six Indian languages by the end of July.

As Supreme Court becomes multilingual TN leaders urge inclusion of TamilPTI
news Supreme Court Wednesday, July 03, 2019 - 16:43

Hours after news of the Supreme Court of India reproducing its judgements in six Indian languages made headlines, leaders from Tamil Nadu have urged the inclusion of Tamil to the list of languages. On Wednesday, the Hindustan Times reported that the apex court's judgement, thus far written and uploaded onto its website in English, will be available in six regional languages beginning late July.

The judgements will be available in Assamese, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Odia and Telugu. The newspaper reported that Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had approved an indigenous software to be used for the purpose. However, the idea behind the move is credited to President Ram Nath Kovind. Speaking at the valedictory function of the diamond jubilee celebrations of the High Court of Kerala in October 2017, President Kovind had proposed the idea for High Courts, in order to make justice understandable and to reduce the litigant’s dependence on their lawyer.

“High Courts deliver judgements in English, but we are a country of diverse languages. The litigant may not be conversant with English and the finer points of the judgement may escape him or her. The litigating parties will thus be dependent on the lawyer or another person to translate the judgement. This can add to time and cost,” he had said, adding, “Perhaps a system could be evolved whereby certified translated copies of judgments are made available by the Honourable High Courts in the local or regional language. This could happen in a period of say 24 or 36 hours after the judgement is pronounced. The language could be Malayalam in the Honourable Kerala High Court or Hindi in the Honourable Patna High Court, as the case may be.”

On Wednesday, Villupuram MP and VCK General Secretary D Ravikumar wrote to Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Law and Justice, urging the inclusion of Tamil to the list of languages into which the English verdicts would be translated. “It is learnt that on the suggestion of Honourable President of India, the Supreme Court is going to publish its judgements in regional languages too. I wholeheartedly welcome this decision. Five regional languages- Hindi, Assamese, Odia, Telugu and Kannada- were already selected for this purpose. I humbly request you to take steps to include Tamil in the above list of regional languages.” he wrote. 

Leader of the Opposition in Tamil Nadu and DMK chief MK Stalin tweeted, “DMK welcomes the proposal to publish judgments of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in regional languages but is disappointed to note that Tamil is not one of them. I request the Hon'ble Chief Justice of India to include Tamil and pave way for multilingual equality.”

While the English judgements will be uploaded on the website the same day, it is reported that the translated copies will be made available within a week. The newspaper reports that the six languages were chosen "on the basis of the number of requests coming to the top court from various states." The exercise is to be repeated in the second phase, it said.

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