For the first time in India, key criminal laws as well as a dictionary of legal terms have been made available in Urdu.
The "Taziraat-e-Hind" or the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and the "Qanoon Shahadat-e-Hind" or the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, are an authentic translated version and bear the laws in Urdu both in Persian and Devnagri scripts, said the chief translator, Muhammad Irshad Hanif, said Sunday.
The translations have been brought out by a New Delhi-based publishing house, along with a broadbased legal dictionary, billed as the first of its kind in the country, and encompassing over 52,000 legal terms. It was also released recently.
"It has a foreword written by Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir. Though the dictionary is focused on the Indian legal system, it will have wide usage even in the international sphere," Hanif said.
"Justice (retd.) Markandey Katju has been very kind enough to pen a foreword for the translations of the laws, which has been a matter of great encouragement," Hanif told IANS.
Top criminal lawyer Majeed Memon said these three translations would greatly benefit the legal fraternity.
"In my four decades in the legal career, I have never come across any law books in Urdu and this should help us all," Memon said.
Jamiat Ulama-e-Maharashtra legal panel member, lawyer Shahid N. Ansari said this is the first time that the line-to-line translation of the two laws is available in Urdu.
"It will immensely help the legal fraternity, especially the litigants to understand the legal nuances in their cases in courts," Ansari said.
The publication house, Imaan Media and Publishing House Pvt. Ltd. (IMPH) will shortly bring out translations of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC), 1973, and other Indian laws, Hanif said.
He said a Hindi version of these laws, brought out by some private publishers, was available but was not up to the mark.
"Not only is the quality of translation very poor, there are glaring errors in the translated versions which can be very misleading for the readers," he said.
He added that with these books, the ordinary litigants would be more empowered with correct knowledge of the laws and in a better position to understand their lawyers, rights and liabilities, as well as the legal proceedings in the courts.
"Very soon, we shall come out with the Cr.PC and all other Indian laws in easy-to-use Urdu in Persian and Devnagari scripts," he assured.
Hanif said that at present most of the legal work, barring in some lower courts, continues to be carried out in English and a vast majority of the laws are also not understood by most people knocking at the doors of courts of law.
He expressed optimism that the new translated versions as well as the legal dictionary would help clear the peoples' doubts on many issues and help them face the legal system with more confidence.