The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir has issued notice to the UT Administration on a PIL seeking to declare Hindi as an official language in the UT of J&K.
The division bench comprised by Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar has asked the UT Administration to show cause as to why the petition should be not admitted and has posted it for hearing on October 7, 2020.
The petition has been filed by social activist Maghav Kohli, highlighting the "hardships" being faced by the local population due use of Urdu in all government documents, which is neither the mother tongue nor a commonly used language in the UT.
He has argued that despite enactment of the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019, the UT administration continues to record all documents pertaining to Revenue, Police, Subordinate Judiciary in Urdu.
It is pertinent to note that Section 47 of the Act stipulates that the Legislative Assembly may by law adopt any one or more of the languages in use in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir or Hindi as the official language or languages to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
In this backdrop Kohli has submitted that Dogri and Hindi languages have been used by the people of J&K since inception and hence, "by not recognizing Hindi as the official language or one of the language commonly in use has resulted in depriving the public at large to suffer due to their in ability to understand the language (Urdu) in which the official record is recorded."
"The cursory glance of Section 47 of J&K Reorganization Act 2019, has made a provision for official language or languages for UT of Jammu and Kashmir and the intention of the Legislature behind adding this provision is with a view to adopt Hindi as the official language of UT of Jammu & Kashmir in order to give representation to Hindi language and also to grant respite to the public at large, by removing unnecessary delay and hardship while obtaining an official record and then getting it translated in Hindi or English."
It is pointed out that under the prevalent regime, all government documents and judicial records have to be translated in Hindi or English, causing massive financial expenses and delaying routine work by over burdening the official staff.
He has thus sought a direction upon the UT Administration to implement Section 47 of the J&K Reorganization Act 2019 and declare Hindi as an official language in the UT of J&K or to adopt anyone or more of the languages in use in the UT of J&K.
Case Title: Maghav Kohli v. UT of J&K
Case No.: WP(C) PIL No. 16/2020
Quorum: Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar
Appearance: Advocate Priyanshu Sharma (for Petitioner); AAG Assem Sawhney (for UT)