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Supreme Court Judgments To Be Made Available In Four Regional Languages, CJI Chandrachud Says English In 'Legal Avatar' Not Comprehensible To 99.9% Citizens

Nupur Thapliyal
24 Jan 2023 2:06 PM GMT
Supreme Court Judgments To Be Made Available In Four Regional Languages, CJI Chandrachud Says English In Legal Avatar Not Comprehensible To 99.9% Citizens

Chief Justice of India, Justice DY Chandrachud on Tuesday said that the judgments of Supreme Court will now be translated in four languages - Hindi, Gujarati, Odia and Tamil.

CJI Chandrachud said English language in its “legal avatar” is not comprehensible to 99.9% of the citizens. He added that the access to justice cannot be meaningful unless citizens are able to understand in a language, which they speak and comprehend.

“A very important initiative which we have adopted recently, is our initiative for translation of the judgments of the Supreme Court in regional languages. Because we must understand that the language which we use namely English, is a language which is not comprehensible, particularly in its legal avatar, to 99.9% of our citizens, in which case really access to justice cannot be meaningful, unless citizens are able to access and understand in a language which they speak and comprehend, the judgments which we deliver whether in the high courts or in the Supreme Court"

CJI clarified that the translation into the four languages is a beginning. He was speaking at the inauguration function of a software that will allow e-inspection of digitised judicial files of the Delhi High Court.

CJI further said that the translation work will be ensured by a committee chaired by Justice Abhay Oka.

“Now our mission for this is that every High Court should have a committee of two judges, one of whom should be a judge who is drawn from the district judiciary because of their sheer width of experience. Most of them have written judgments in those languages,” CJI added.

CJI further said the idea is that the High Courts will also appoint their retired judicial officers, apart from their own translators, for verifying machine translation of the Supreme Court judgments.

“We are in the process…there's a software which has been developed. We are now creating a team whereby they will use machine learning for the translation of Supreme Court judgments in various Indian languages,” CJI Chandrachud said.

Emphasising that such machine translation must accord with what is actually written by the judges in the judgments, CJI said that retired judicial officers will be paid by the Supreme Court from its own resources for the work “which they can do even sitting at home.”

“They don't have to come to the precincts of the High Court to verify whether the translation has been done correctly,” CJI said.

CJI also shared some of the new initiatives adopted by him since November 9, 2022 as part of the technology mission.

He said that a new 'justice mobile application' has been introduced which is accessible to advocates, AORs, journalists, litigants, government departments and every stakeholder in the system.

“The idea is to provide free access to entirety of record and information about court cases,” he said.

CJI Chandrachud also said that over the last two months, Supreme Court Reports, which contains old judgments in physical form dating back to 1950, have been transformed in eSCR.

Requesting the members of Delhi High Court Bar Association and younger lawyers to freely utilize eSCR, CJI said:

“The next step for us is to use neutral citations as part of eSCR. The eSCR has an elastic search facility. So not only have we converted our paper files in PDF files, but we have also made them compatible with search engine.”

CJI Chandrachud also said that he has written to the Chief Justices of all the High Courts to introduce neutral citations across India. He said neutral citations will ensure one format across India.

Furthermore, CJI also said that like the Supreme Court, every High Court should have its own RTI portal to make the process of disclosure of information related to courts under RTI Act, streamlined and accessible.

CJI also said that e-filing software for the Supreme Court has been upgraded and will be launched soon. "It has been substantially upgraded. It is now in the process of completing security audit," he said.

ALSO READ: Delhi High Court Introduces Online Inspection Of Digitized Judicial Files, Live Streaming Of Hearings On Angul

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