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

Su. Venkatesan was upset over a reply sent to him in Hindi by Union Minister

November 28, 2020 01:21 am | Updated 01:21 am IST - Madurai

Madurai Member of Parliament Su. Venkatesan 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 were in English alone.

Mr. Venkatesan, who represents the CPI (M), 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 had written 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.

A total of nine examination centres were notified, of which only two were in south India. There was no equitable distribution of examination centres.

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 pointed out that the communication was not recalled, and no reply has been sent in English.

He said that 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 communication between the Union and a State that has not adopted Hindi, 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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