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"Hindi is national language": Bombay HC observation challenged in Supreme Court

Hindi is national language: Bombay HC observation challenged in Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Bombay High Court's observation of Hindi being a "national language" in the order rejecting the bail petition of an accused, who claimed he did not understand his fundamental rights as they were presented in Hindi, is being challenged in the Supreme Court.

In the order rejecting the bail plea of Gangam Sudhir Kumar Reddy who was arrested under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, the Bombay High Court judge had commented that the accused's claim of not understanding his rights as they were presented to him in Hindi was not a valid reason as Hindi was a "national language" and it was presumed he would have a basic awareness of it.

"The applicant was communicated about his right in Hindi which is National language. Applicant was apprehended from Mumbai. The fact that applicant was carrying out business of Tours and Travel, prompts this court to believe at this stage that he must be aware about the topography and signals of the local language," the court said.

Reddy had claimed that the Anti-Narcotics Cell had informed him of his statutory rights in Hindi, though he was conversant only in Telugu. Reddy sought bail citing non-compliance with Section 50 (conditions under which search of persons shall be conducted) of the NDPS Act, which was rejected by the HC.

The petition in the SC said the accused was not informed of the particulars of offence for which he was arrested. Fundamental and statutory rights of the accused were violated when the grounds for the arrest were not communicated, the plea filed through advocate Sandeep Singh said.

On February 19, the Delhi High Court had ordered the release of a Punjabi man arrested under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, who had not been provided a translation of the particulars of his arrest in Hindi or Punjabi. The accused, Harmeet Singh, was a Class X dropout and there was no evidence suggesting he had a "working knowledge" of the English language, which was used to explain the grounds of his detention to him, the court had observed.

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TAGS:Supreme CourtBombay High CourtHindi
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