It also directed the Official Languages (Use for Official Purpose of the Union) Rules, 1976, which insists on usage of English for communication between the Union and states which have not adopted Hindi as official language.
A division bench comprising Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice M Duraiswamy made the observation on a PIL moved by a TN MP challenging a reply given to him in Hindi despite him asking a question in English. Incidentally after a court notice in such regard, the Centre claimed that it was an inadvertent mistake.
However, pointing out that it should not be taken that this court is only for English and not for the Indian languages, the bench also held, “Thrust is to be given to education in mother tongue as that of English language. The Central government should continue to use English along with Hindi which can act as a binding force.” Also, pointing out that though it has been stated that inadvertently a reply was given in Hindi, the authorities have not categorically stated that herein afterwards, there will not be any violation of the Official Languages Act, 1963 and the Official Languages Rules, 1976, Justice Kirubakaran said, “Fanaticism, in any form, is to be condemned, if it is exhibited. Linguistic fanaticism is more dangerous as it would give an impression that one language alone is superior. “When even an apprehension should not be created that a particular language is surpassed or side-lined in a multi-linguistic country like ours, a few chosen languages are getting princely status with enormous money allotted for development of those languages alone, ” the court lamented.
“It is also settled position of law that whenever land acquisition proceedings are initiated, as per the Act, 4 (1) Notification should be issued in dailies in vernacular languages and in English. The purpose of publication in vernacular languages is only to see that the information regarding cases reaches the local people, particularly, the land owners who are likely to be affected, ” the bench added.
The court also held that one is entitled to submit a representation to any agency or officer of the Union or the states in any of the languages used in India and once a representation is given in English, it is the duty of the Union government to give a reply in English only which will also be in consonance with the statute, viz., the Official Languages Act.