The Supreme Court on Monday, directed witnesses from West Bengal in a motor accident case to depose before an Uttar Pradesh court in Hindi, saying that it was the national language of India, Bar and Bench reported on Friday.

According to the Constitution, India does not have a national language. Under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, there are 22 designated official languages.

However, in his order Justice Dipankar Dutta said, “There are at least 22 official languages. However, Hindi being the national language, it is expected of the witnesses who would be produced by the communicate and convey their version in Hindi.”

Dutta was hearing a plea seeking transfer of a motor accident case pending in Motor Accident Claims Tribunal in Uttar Pradesh’s Farukkabad to the tribunal in West Bengal’s Darjeeling.

The petitioner had contended that since the accident had taken place in Siliguri, it would be convenient if the hearings were held in the Darjeeling tribunal. The plea added said that since all witnesses of the petitioner were from Siliguri, language could be a barrier in the Uttar Pradesh tribunal.

However, Dutta dismissed the request. “If the contention of the petitioner is to be accepted, it is the claimants who would be seriously prejudiced not being in a position to communicate and convey their version in Bengali,” the order said.

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