High Court proceedings must be in English, says Gujarat High Court

By- Gautam Choudhary

A Gujarat High Court Division Bench has ordered a journalist charged with contempt of court to talk only in English because it is the language of the higher judiciary. The directive was given to Vishal Vyas, a local journalist who operates Samna Bharstachar Ka, by a bench consisting of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and A.J. Shastri, against whom contempt of court proceedings was filed in 2014.

Mr. Vyas appeared as a party in person on Monday and addressed the court in Gujarati. The Chief Justice, on the other hand, stated that English would be the court’s official language and that Mr. Vyas should talk in that language. If he required to, the Chief Justice even offered him the services of an interpreter or a lawyer. Additionally, If Mr. Vyas could not afford a lawyer, it was suggested that he seek assistance from the Gujarat State Legal Services Authority.

The contemnor, on the other hand, continued to speak Gujarati, even asserting that because it is Gujarat, everyone here speaks Gujarati. His insistence on speaking solely Gujarati prompted the Bench to dismiss his comments, stating that it was not acceptable. Even if a side does not engage a lawyer and comes in person, the High Court has a regulation that they must speak and argue in English only.

“The contemnor submits that he will speak only in Gujarati language and will not speak in any other language,” the Bench stated in its decision. We’re here to help. For a variety of reasons, I am not inclined to accept his submissions. First, we will not allow the defendant to address the court in a language that this court does not understand.”

The Court further emphasized that Article 348 of the Constitution required that the High Court’s language be English. After the magazine wrote against a legal order passed by a court in Gandhinagar, the High Court launched suo motu contempt proceedings against the publication and Mr. Vyas in 2014.

In 2014, the court ruled that the news item and its contents carried by the publication in violation of a judicial order were prima facie contemptuous, and criminal contempt proceedings were commenced.

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