Why Are You Opposed To Use Of Marathi Language In Signboards? It Will Bring More People : Supreme Court To Retailers

Update: 2022-12-09 08:26 GMT

A division bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justices K M Joseph and B V Nagarathna, adjourned the SLP filed in Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association vs. State of Maharashtra, on Friday.

The special leave petition has been filed challenging the judgment ofthe Bombay High Court which has upheld the validity of Rule 35 of the Maharashtra Shops and Establishment Act which mandates signboards to be in Marathi language in Devanagari script on top and having the same font size as any other language. By way of an amendment the said Rule 35 has now been incorporated into the main Act as Section 36-A making it applicable to shops and establishments with even less than 10 workers.

The petitions combinedly challenged the constitutionality of such a provision and whether the State can impose its official language in matters of trade and business. During an earlier hearing, the court was pleased to pass an order for no- coercive steps against petitioners.

When the matter came up on Friday, Justice Joseph pointed out to the counsel appearing on behalf of the Petitioners that there was a letter for adjournment circulated by the Respondents.

To this the counsel for Petitioners responded by saying, "I oppose the adjournment letter. They have sought adjournment for so many times now. This is the third time."

However, Justice Joseph pointed out the earlier order passed by thecourt in favour of the Petitioners and remarked, "There is an order for no coercive steps in your favour. That will take care of your interest."

At this point, Justice B V Nagarathna remarked, "Why are you opposed to the use of the Marathi language? It will help the people there. Infact more people will come to you by seeing the name board. Why do you have a problem with it?"

Counsel appearing for the Petitioners responded by saying, "It is completely politically motivated, my lords. And the situation now after the change of government in Maharashtra is such that the new government neither wants to be seen supporting it nor opposing it."

The bench, however, was not inclined to pass any orders and adjourned the matter.

Case Title: Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association vs. State of Maharashtra W.P. (C) No. 775/2022


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