The Madras High Court on Thursday ordered the Centre to make sure that all communication with the Tamil Nadu government should be “in English only”, reported The Times of India. The High Court directed the Union government to adhere to the provisions of the Official Languages Act.
A division bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and M Duraiswamy noted that after a representation was made in English, it was the central government’s duty to send a reply in the same language as mandated under provisions of the Act.
The court was hearing a plea filed by Madurai Lok Sabha MP Su Venkatesan, who sought an order to only use English in all communication between the Union government and the state, its MPs and the public. The plea was moved after the Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai replied to Venkatesan’s letter in Hindi.
“Tamil Nadu has not set up an examination centre in Pondicherry for the written test to fill 780 vacancies in Group B and Group C,” the public interest litigation read, according to Mint. “So I sent a letter on October 9 to the Ministry of Home Affairs asking them to set up at least one examination centre in these areas.”
The judges on Thursday said that this was an age of information and communication and therefore the Centre should take measures for the preservation and development of all languages.
The court also referred to Article 350 (language to be used in representations for redress of grievances) of the Constitution, observing that an individual was entitled to submit his representations to the Centre in any of the languages in use in India.
“Mother tongue should also be given importance, like that of English as knowledge without understanding of mother tongue would be incomplete,” the court added, reported The New Indian Express.