A Punjab and Haryana high court bench on Monday issued a notice to the Punjab government on a petition for making Punjabi as official language in state’s subordinate courts.
The bench of justice SS Saron and justice Gurmit Ram has sought response by August 9 on the plea that also seeks quashing of a 1991 communication by the registrar general of the high court to all subordinate courts directing them to treat English as the court language.
The court was told that most litigants did not understand English, and therefore, did not know what was transpiring in the court proceedings. “They do not understand the import of the orders/judgments, which are handed over to them. Thus, it is highly desirable that the court proceedings should be recorded in the official language of Punjab, Punjabi,” said petitioners advocate HC Arora and Mitter Sain Goyal. A notification under the Punjab Official Language (Amendment) Act-2008 mandated that on expiry of six months, in all civil and criminal courts, all revenue courts and rent tribunals or any other court or tribunal constituted by the state, work would be done in Punjabi, said petitioners.
They said despite more than eight years, the statutory provisions under the 2008 notification had not been implemented as the registrar of high court had not issued revised instructions to the lower courts. The notices have been issued to the chief secretary, principal secretary, home, and HC’s registrar general.