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Karunanidhi stands firm on Tamil in High Court

Special Correspondent

Urges Prime Minister to obtain Presidential consent


  • Centre had turned down State's plea
  • 4 States "authorised to conduct proceedings in Hindi"

    CHENNAI: With the Centre turning down the State's proposal to introduce Tamil in the Madras High Court, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Sunday wrote to the Prime Minister and the Union Ministers of Home and Law urging them to expeditiously obtain Presidential consent for use of Tamil in the High Court.

    In identical letters, a copy of which was released to the press, Mr. Karunanidhi said: "All concerned are surprised and shocked over the contents of this letter [disagreeing with the State's proposal], when the relevant provisions of the Constitution and the Law made by Parliament remain unchanged."

    High Courts in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan had been authorised to conduct all proceedings in Hindi. "Therefore, in the case of Tamil Nadu a different stand cannot be taken," he said.

    The letter from the Centre said the matter was examined in consultation with the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of India opined that for the present "it is not proper to introduce regional language in the orders, decrees and other proceedings of the High Court." According to the Chief Minister, the use of Tamil as High Court language was not exclusive but only in addition to English language. "Therefore, any judge who wants to have the proceedings or pass an order in English is not prohibited from using English. Also any order passed in Tamil shall always be accompanied by an official English translation. No judge who is not well versed in Tamil would face any difficulty either in hearing the argument or passing the orders."

    Pointing to the reference made to certain resolutions passed in 1966 on the issue of use of languages other than English (linguistic medium) in High Courts, he said: "The entire scenario in the country has undergone transformation since then. Regional aspirations have gained momentum ... in a multi-lingual country like India, there cannot be a permanent formula for the use of a single language."

    He said, "The rejection of request made by West Bengal Government for introduction of Bengali as the official language in Calcutta High Court may not be a valid reason to reject the request of Tamil Nadu. As already stated, the four states have been permitted ... and that the same cannot be denied to Tamil Nadu."

    "I am quite confident that you will take urgent steps to give effect to the will and desire of the people of Tamil Nadu ... hopeful that you would certainly appreciate the sentiments ... " Mr. Karunanidhi said.

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