The Official Languages-Language of the SC and HC

The Official Languages-Language of the SC and HC

According to the Indian constitution article 348(1), unless provided any law by the parliament, all proceedings in both the supreme court and high courts will be conducted in English.

The Indian constitution in its article 348, has declared based on its previous articles, states governors may proceed with any official work and matter using the Hindi language after consulting with the president in high courts. Several Indian states such as Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar have authorised the Hindi language in their different high courts to proceed with any topic that is officials. Following this direction, Tamilnadu has started to move for authorising their Tamil language.  

Official languages

The Official Languages Act 1963  has empowered the governors of the respective states to proceed with their high court activities like order pass, decree or judgement with the Hindi language in addition to English after consulting with  president. Besides this empowerment, this act also provides a translation procedure after passing orders, decrees and judgement with the same. The primary language that has been declared is English as the provisions of the constitution has been declared in English. This act has not mentioned any alternative languages for conducting any issues in the supreme court. This act has made the English language for preceding official activities in the supreme court. Besides this declaration, it has to be mentioned that a litigant has the right fundamentally to participate and understand any proceedings within the courtroom as Article 21 and Article 19 has provided this right. The litigant has also the right to represent himself and speak in any language in front of the Magistrate. In the same way, the “justice right” has been mentioned in Article 21 of the Indian constitution.

Subordinate court’s languages

Unless the determination by the state government, the language will be the same in proceeding as per the code of civil procedure 1908. In the context of used languages in any official activities within the courts, two provisions will be followed. As per the Official languages Act language, the district court’s language will be the same to it as  under the 137 section. As per the empowering act, the government of states have the supreme power to use any regional language in their official proceedings but in orders, decree or judgement, they have to use the English language only. If any of the pleaders can not proceed with his activities within the court, a translation service will be supplied to him for better clarification. The Criminal procedure code 1973 in section 272 has declared that the government of states may choose any comfortable languages but not for the high court. In a single word, it may be stated that the courts of districts have the power and potentiality to use any regional languages in their official activities as per the government of states’ decisions.

Language of the SC and HC and   Authoritative Text of Laws

The most used language is English in both the HC and SC for several reasons. As different cases are presented in front of the supreme court from different parts of the country, similarly, the supreme court’s lawyers and judges also come from different areas and cultures of the country. Judges and lawyers may not expect to proceed with his activity by arguing or reading with the languages that he is not familiar with. As in the supreme court, all judgements are declared in English, therefore, it will be very difficult to discharge anyone’s duty without the English language. The court introduced a translating initiative for judgement into their regional languages in 2019. There are a lot of positive sites of using the English language in all official activities as this language possess uniformity, transfer seamlessly, the unified structure is easy to access, and is linked with other languages. Indian current judicial system is integrated, well-developed uniformly within the whole country. Judges and lawyers feel free to provide their decisions and to read any legislation of another high court easily with this language.

Judges are currently transferred from one to another high court and this English language makes them easy to communicate with other court members. Besides this positivity, the English language has created a unified structure in the judicial system of India. Language has become an emotive issue in the Indian judicial system.. The communication channel of different states judiciaries will be harmed for these issues. In this context, the unified structure will be very helpful for addressing this issue.        


In conclusion, it may be stated that English is the most suitable and used language in both the HC and SC. These courts have recognized English as the primary language to proceed with any official activities within their courts. The Act of official languages 1963 has empowered the state governors to use the Hindi language in their proceedings after consulting with the respective president. After getting permission from the president, any state may conduct their official procedures in their regional languages.