Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 21, (BPNS)
In a significant step, the Kerala High Court has started to publish its decisions in Malayalam. With this, it became the first high court in the country to translate judgments in English to a regional language.
Recently the Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud said that the apex court’s judgments will now be made available in four regional languages as the English language, in its legal avatar, is not comprehensible to 99.9 percent of the citizens.
It has to be noted that as per Article 348 (1) of the Constitution of India, all proceedings in the Supreme Court and every high court shall be in the English language until the Parliament by law otherwise provides.
At the same time, it is said that taking note of the CJI’s observation, the Kerala High Court started publishing judgments in Malayalam on a test basis.
As of now, it has published two judgments in Malayalam. And both have come from the division bench comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly. The judgments made in January have also been uploaded on the high court website.
It was in the last month that the apex court decided to translate its judgments in English into Hindi, Gujarati, Odia, and Tamil.
Announcing the same, the CJI said that access to justice cannot be meaningful unless citizens can access and understand in a language which they speak and comprehend, the judgments delivered by the Supreme Court or by the high courts.
On the heels of the same, it proposed to release 1,268 of its judgments in 13 Indian languages on Republic Day.
Meanwhile, it was the former President of India Ram Nath Kovind who first pitched the idea of providing judgments in the local or regional language. The then President had observed that providing judgments in the local or regional language is important as it not only takes justice to the people but also makes it understandable to litigating parties in a language they know. The President also noted that translated copies will reduce time and cost as the litigating parties could no longer depend on the lawyer or another person to translate the judgment in English.