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Madras high court directs central government to reply in English

Chennai, August 19 (IANS)

The Madurai bench of the Madras high court directed the Union government ministries to respond in English language to a question in English. The division bench on Thursday directed the central government to follow the provisions of the Official Languages Act, `1963 strictly.

The court said,” Once a representation is given in English it is the duty of the Union government to reply in English only.”

The division bench of the Madras High Court comprising of Justices N. Kirubakaran and Justice M. Duraiswamy pronounced the direction while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Madurai Lok Sabha MP, Su Venkitasan. The MP was seeking a directive to use English alone in all communications between the Centre and State Governments.

The Member of Parliament representing Madurai constituency had approached the court after the Minister of State for Home affairs had replied to his letter in Hindi alone. Su Venkatesan had written a letter to the Union minister for setting up examination centres for CRPF Paramedical staff recruitment at Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Justice Kirubakaran citing Article 350 of the Constitution said that every person is entitled to give representation in any languages used in the Union or the state. He said that once a question is given in English, it is the duty of the Union government to reply in English only. He added that this was in consonance with the Official Language Act.

The Court also directed the Union government and all its instrumentalities follow the Official Languages Act 1963, especially section 3 of the Act, which says that both the Hindi and English languages should be used for the official documents.

Justice Kirubakaran said,” There are several languages in India which are hundreds or even thousands of years old”. The judge also said that governments should take efforts to preserve the language.