The following appeared in "Times of India", Mumbai Edition on January 02,2009, page no. 04.
May be useful for future references.
The Bombay HC Division Bench order, can be used as a precedent, for various matters, more specifically so in Criminal matters, like :
1. A Tamilian getting arrested in New Delhi on serious criminal charges (Delhi has all paper work in Hindi). The offender would plead total lack of Hindi while receiving Charge Sheet at Trial stage and easily get away, while deliberately appealing in High Court.
2. Further it can be used (as a precedent), virtually in all cross country (cross language) legal matters, even involving Revenue matters, property matters, civil and family matters.
3. This type of precedent would even do away with "Regional Language" being used in Govt. offices.
4. A Consumer, would file a complaint of "deficient service" if he says that the railway station name board / announcement is in a language other than the one he understands.
Some complicated issues would be raked up in future.
I request for opinions.
Keep Smiling ... HemantAgarwal
Tell accused charges in mother tongue: HC
Mumbai: A person accused of a crime has the right to know the charges levelled against him in a language he understands, the Bombay High Court has ruled.
A division bench of Justice K J Rohee and Justice A P Bhangale recently quashed a detention order passed by the state against Nagpur resident Firoz Khan (35). The court found that Khan had not been provided with copies of vital documents, used as evidence against him, in Hindi, a language he was fluent in. The papers were in Marathi.
“They are vital documents and, on account of failure to supply their Hindi translation to Khan, (his) right to make effective representation was affected,’’ said the judges.
The Nagpur police chief had declared Khan a “dangerous’’ person. The order said having been satisfied that Khan’s activities were prejudicial to the “maintenance of public order’’ and that he was “likely to indulge in such activities’’, he was directed to be detained for one year. The state confirmed the order and Khan was detained at Nagpur Central Jail.
Besides challenging the grounds for detention, Khan said his mother tongue was Urdu and he did not understand Marathi. Though he was conversant in Hindi, the authorities had not supplied him with the documents they were relying on in that language.
Though public prosecutor N W Sambre said the detention order and the reason were explained to Khan in Hindi, the court agreed with the defence that copies of Hindi translations of certain crucial documents were not provided to him. Further, there was no endorsement as to who was the officer who explained the charges to Khan in Hindi.