A Hyderabad resident has moved the Supreme Court to challenge a Bombay High Court order that referred to Hindi as the “national language” while denying him bail, Bar and Bench reported.
The Mumbai Police had arrested the man, Gangam Sudhir Kumar Reddy, in July 2019 after commercial quantity of cannabis was allegedly found in a vehicle he was travelling in. The vehicle belonged to Reddy’s wife, according to Live Law.
The police filed a case against the man under sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
In his bail application, Reddy had claimed that the police informed him about the reasons for his arrest and about his statutory rights in Hindi, which he does not understand.
In response to this argument, Justice Nitin Sambre of the Bombay High said that Reddy had a tourism and travel business, and that he must be “aware about the topography and signals of the local language”. The High Court had said that it could be presumed that Reddy knew Hindi.
“The applicant was communicated about his right in Hindi, which is National Language,” Justice Sambre said in his order while rejecting the bail plea, according to Live Law.
In his petition before the Supreme Court, Reddy has contended that as per the Constitution, India does not have a national language. He referred to Article 345 of the Constitution, which allows the legislature to use any language in the state or Hindi as the official language.
Reddy noted that the provision does not refer to Hindi as the national language.
“The keenest controversy in the Constituent Assembly was in regard to the official language,” his petition said. “...The Constitution-makers did not accept Hindi as the National Language.”
Reddy contended that the police did not inform him about his rights, and that this was a “serious gross violation” of his constitutional rights.
In response to the High Court’s observation that he would know the local language for being in the travel business,Reddy claimed that he relied on the Google Maps app rather than signboards in the local language for directions.