The PIL was filed by one Rohit Patel and senior advocate Asim Pandya argued the case before the court on Wednesday. After a preliminary hearing, the bench of Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh Shastri posted further hearing for December 1.
The petitioner urged the HC to direct the state and the central governments to implement the Gujarat governor’s of 2012, authorizing the use of Gujarati in addition to English in HC hearings. It was submitted that the governor’s decision was taken on the advice of the council of ministers, who had expressed the wish and decision of the state assembly.
The PIL also questioned the decision taken by the Supreme Court at a meeting held in October 2012 in which it refused to accept the proposal allowing the use of Gujarati in the high court and similar proposals for regional languages in Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Karnataka. It contended that Articles 344 and 348 of the Constitution do not contemplate any consultation of concurrence with the SC in the matter of permitting use of official languages. The PIL questioned whether the SC on its administrative side can nullify a decision taken by a state assembly, approved by the council of ministers and authorized by the state governor. It also raised a question whether a decision taken by a cabinet committee requiring comments from the SC on use of regional languages is in violation of constitutional provisions. The PIL referred to a decision taken in 1965 by the cabinet committee in this regard and urged the HC to hold it in violation of Articles 344 and 348(2) of the Constitution. It also requested the HC to direct the governments to take a fresh decision on a representation made by advocate Pandya to the governor.
It was Pandya’s letter as president of the Gujarat High Court Advocates Association (GHAA) to the governor and state authorities to allow use of Gujarati in HC proceedings that spurred controversy.