Language not a ground for case transfer: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of India   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The inability to understand the language spoken in court is not a ground to seek transfer of the case, the Supreme Court has held in a judgment.

“Convenience” of a person involved in a case had never been a criterion for transferring a case out of a State. Cases were transferred to serve the ends of justice, Justice Aniruddha Bose said.

The recent judgment came on an appeal by Rajkumar Sabu, a merchant involved in a trademark violation case, who wanted to transfer the trial proceedings from a court in Salem in Tamil Nadu to New Delhi. He said he did not understand Tamil, besides the rival parties were influential in Salem. But the top court said he did not place any evidence to prove he was handicapped if the trial continued in Tamil Nadu. “In my opinion, if a court hearing a case possesses the jurisdiction to proceed with the same, solely based on the fact that one of the parties to that case is unable to follow the language of that court would not warrant exercise of jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to transfer the case under Section 406 of the 1973 Code [of Criminal Procedure],” Justice Bose observed. Justice Bose said Mr. Sabu could take a translator’s help. “Records reveal that aid of translator is available in the Salem court, which could overcome this difficulty,” the top court noted.

It said Mr. Sabu’s plea for transfer was based primarily on convenience. “But convenience of one of the parties cannot be a ground for allowing his application. Transfer of a criminal case under Section 406 of the 1973 Code can be directed when such transfer would be expedient for the ends of justice,” Justice Bose held.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 3:23:42 AM |

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