Madurai MP moves HC for ‘English only’ communication between Centre and State

Su. Venkatesan.  

Su. Venkatesan, MP, has on Friday moved the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the Centre to ensure that all communications between the Centre and Tamil Nadu shall be in English alone. Mr. Venkatesan, who represents the Communist Party of India (Marxist), was upset over a reply sent to him in Hindi by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai recently.

In his public interest litigation petition, Mr. Venkatesan said he wrote to the Centre seeking a response as to why there were no examination centres in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry for the recruitment of CRPF Para Medical Staff. Nine examination centres were notified, of which only two were in South India. There was no equitable distribution of examination centres.

Mr. Venkatesan said that, to his shock, he received the reply from the Union Minister in Hindi. “I hail from a non-Hindi speaking State and I do not know how to read, write or speak in Hindi. I virtually could not read and understand anything written in the communication,” he said. The MP said the communication was not recalled and no reply had been sent in English.

The Centre was following a practice of sending replies only in Hindi to MPs from Tamil Nadu. This defeats the Rights guaranteed under the Constitution and the Official Languages Act, 1963. As per Section 3 of the Act, English language should be used in communications between the Union and the State that has not adopted Hindi, he said.

Tamil Nadu has vehemently opposed the efforts to make Hindi the sole official language of India and has always wanted English too to be continued as an official language. Tamil Nadu follows a two-language policy - Tamil and English - and English is the link language between the Centre and the State, he said.

Mr. Venkatesan sought a direction to restrain the Centre from addressing any communication between the Centre and the State in Hindi and sought an English-translated copy of the Union Minister’s letter. Taking up the petition for hearing, a Division Bench of Justices N. Kirubakaran and B. Pugalendhi sought a response from the Centre.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 1:04:32 AM |

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