Central India Law Quarterly
Hindi Medium Of Instruction In Legal Education HINDI MEDIUM OF INSTRUCTION IN LEGAL EDUCATION
Language plays a vital role in the delivery of justice. It works as an
effective instrument in providing justice to the individual and society as
well. The language of law, being a distinct register, differs widely from
languages of creative literature, science and so on. The basic function of
language is communication. As Dias remarks, "When I choose a word it
means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less."l To Lord
Macmillan, "The lawyer's business is with words: They are the raw
material of his craft."* Words are not only tools of thought, but they also
control it. Language works as the chief medium of expression through
words. The words used must be, as far as possible, precise and simple
so that there is no syntactic ambig~ity.~ other varieties of language
they may or may not affect the masses in general but the legal language
considerably affects the day-to-day life of legal interactants and a slight
mistake may create havoc. In a multilingual society like ours, however,
where elitist groups control the society, communication gap is inevitable.
The language-use itself constitutes the law, and if the language of the
elite is the language of law, resulting into the masses' only limited access
to law, it tends to create an unequal society. However, our Constitution
and the Official Languages Acts, both Central and States, enshrine
language rights of citizens.
2. The framers of the Constitution had a long and healthy debate in the
Constituent Assembly on the language p ~ l i c y . Part XVll-Official
Language (from Articles 343 to 351) - is incorporated to deal with the
language problems. Chapter 1- Articles 343 and 344 deal with the
language of the union, chapter 11-Article 343-347 deal with the regional
language; Chapter Ill-Articles 348-349 deal with language of the
Supreme Court or High Courts; Chapter IV-Articles 350-351 deal with the
protection to linguistic minorities; instruction in mother tongue at the
Reader. Deptt. of Law, Dr. H.S. Gour University. SAGAR (M.P.) Life Member, Central
lndia Law Institute, Jabalpur (M.P.)
1. R. W.M. Dias, Jurisprudence, (4th Edn. 1976, Third Reprint 1983), p. 6.
2. Lord Macmillan, Law and Other Things, p. 31.
3. Tewari, Dr. G.S., Central lndia Law Quarterly,Jabalpur, Part IV, Oct-Dec., 1995, p. 347.
4. Constituent Assembly Debates, Vols VII and IX.
Vol.X:III] HINDI IN LEGAL EDUCATION 255
primary stage and directives for the development of Hindi language.
Under Part XXII-Article 394-A has been inserted by Sec 3 of the
Constitution (58th Amendment) Act, 1987 for authoritative text of the
Constitution in Hindi language. The Eighth Schedule deals with 18
3. In order to bring unity among all the people of lndia through
common language for developing an All lndia linguistic unity the
Members of the Constituent Assembly wanted to establish one Indian
language as the national language. Article 343 provides that the official
language of the Union shall be Hindi in the Devanagari Script. Thus,
though Hindi was selected as the official language, it could not be
described as the national language, for it was not the language generally
spoken in all parts of India. The Parliament passed the Official Language
Act, 1963 amended in 1967, which provides for the continued use of
English for official purposes of the Union in addition to Hindi indefinitely
notwithstanding the expiration of the period of fifteen ,years on 26-1-
1965. The postponement of exclusive use of Hindi as the official
language of the Union is certainly injurious to the nation. "The Committee
on Legal Education in Changing World recognised the importance of
language as a crucial factor in legal education. Most countries in Asia
and Africa undergoing transition want to bring about changes through law
and language. Particularly, ''the language of law and law courts is of
crucial importance in the present stage of transition in our country, which
is trying to bring about structural changes in it through the instrumentality
4. Most States of the Union of India have adopted their respective
State language as the Official Language for the purposes of
administration and legislation. Madhya Pradesh has been using Hindi in
legal domain since pre-independence days. The princely states, Central
Provinces and Berar, Madhya Bharat and Vindhya Pradesh had Hindi as
official language for all administrative purposes though most of the
technical terms were derived from Persio-Arabic sources rather than
Sanskrit. Prior to 1835, Persian was the Official language in the then
Saugor-Narbudda Region. The then Commissioner Shri F.J. Shore
5. Tewari, Dr. G.S., Law and Language, 1996.
CENTRAL INDIA LAW QUARTERLY
declared "Hindustani" in the Devangari Script as the official language of
the region. But it was opposed and in 1843 persio-Arabic mixed Urdu in
the Persian script become the official language. The Government of
India, Home (Law) Department on 13 May 1872 (vide letter No. 939)6
ordered "Hindi" to be the official language of the Courts for all purposes
in the Central Provinces, though Urdu still had its dominance.
5. The Madhya Bharat Official Language Act, 1950 and the Madhya
Pradesh Official Language Act, 1957 declared Hindi with the Devanagari
script as its official language for all purposes. Thus, after independence
significant changes have taken place in regard to the use of Hindi in
Madhya Pradesh in every walk of life in general and law courts in
particular. Hindi is compulsory for all purposes-administration,legislation
and courts except the High Court. Madhya Pradesh adopted Hindi as its
official language but actually its insufficient use has always been a
source of disillusionment to all concerned. English still continues to be
the undeclared language of administration, is almost the exclusive
language of High Court and the dominant language of legal education.
6. Madhya Pradesh is a Hindi-speaking State. The language of law
must be people's language in order to provide them justice. If law is
written in an alien language, they are certainly deprived of justice due to
communication gap. Administration of justice is thus integrally related to
legal education. The aim of legal education is to equip students of law to
understand and interpret it in society and courts. There is almost no
difficulty if the language of enactments and that of users is the same. But
in a multilingual society like ours, where the language laws are different
from the language of the masses, the problem is multiple. In India laws
are mostly in English and teachers, judges and lawyers, who have a long
legacy of English in legal domain, give step-motherly treatment to Hindi
and look at its use with askance. If the Government policy is to use any
particular language for all official purposes, the medium of instruction has
to be in the same language, More-over, in order to achieve the objectives
enshrined in Article 351 of the Constitution it is imperative to have Hindi
as a medium of instruction in legal education.
6. Central Provinces Gazette, dated 8 June, 1872, Supplementary Part.
Vol.X:lll] HINDI IN LEGAL EDUCATION 257
7. Legal Education is imparted in nine Universities of Madhya
Pradesh spreading over to 85 colleges therein as on January 1996. The
infrastructure of legal education is very poor due to lack of library
facilities, classrooms and qualified teachers. Most of law teachers
(generally Part-time) are practising advocates getting meagre
honorarium. The Syllabus of law is not uniform. Earlier, the medium of
instruction and examination in law was English but now the medium of
instruction and examination is Hindi. A.P.S. University, Rewa, Dr. H.S.
Gour University, Sagar, Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya, Bilaspur, Pt.
Ravishankar Shukla Vishwavidyalaya, Raipur and Vikram University,
Ujjain have also prescribed an optional language paper in LL.B. Classes.
The remaining four Universities do not have any language paper. The
switch over in the language paper from compulsory to optional or its
discontinuance has affected the language competence of students, and
they are unable to write correct sentences even in Hindi. Some of the
Universities, like Dr. H.S. Gour Vishwavidyalaya, Sagar and Jiwaji
University, Gwalior, have prescribed that the medium of instruction in
LL.M. shall be English. However, in practice, teaching is being done in
Hindi mixed with English words, often resulting in "Code Mixing" and
"Code Switching." The rule itself is anomalous as to how a Hindi medium
student of LL.B. can prosecute his LL.M. studies in English.
8. The medium of examination in LL.B. and LL.M. Classes in all the
Universities is both Hindi and English except in LL.M. Classes in B.V.V.,
Bhopal and J.U. Gwalior where the medium of examination is only
English. However, examinees answer in Hindi also. The papers are set
in Hindi with the English version. The number of examinees in Hindi
medium is 98% It is revealed from a survey of the University Teaching
Department of Dr. H.S.G.V.V., Sagar that there are only 02 to 05
students with English as their medium out of 350, 200, 150 students of
LL.B. Ist., LL.B. Ilnd., and LL.B. lllrd year respectively, and only two
students in LL.M. Part I and one student in LL.M. 1 out of 40 and 10
students respectively. The position is similar in other Universities. The
situation in respect of LL.M. students' written language (HindiIEnglish) is
no better than that of LL.B. students. They make mistakes in spellings,
punctuation and construction of sentences. This has affected seriously
the standards of legal education.
258 CENTRAL INDIA LAW QUARTERLY [I997
9. The survey conducted in various UniversitiedColleges of Madbya
Pradesh reveals that some teachers find themselves ill equipped to
teach LL.B./LL.M. Classes in Hindi and some of them face problems in .
teaching LL.B. Classes in English. "The Committee on Legal Education
in Changing World observed that in most countries in Asia and Africa
the medium of instruction is English at the level of higher education,
though the medium of instruction in the primary and Secondary Schools
is a national language. This often results in a critical problem of
comprehension on the part of students at the University level. The
learning process is consequently slowed down considerably and class
discussions are difficult to conduct. These problems are, of course, not
peculiar to legal education, but they are especially aggravated in it
because language is the basic tool of law, and proper ~nde~standing of
concepts and appreciation of the richness of linguistic nunances is a
foundation of good legal training. A poor command of the language of
instruction leads to an excessive reliance on memory and rote learning
and does little to stimulate critjcal faculties.
10. Since students learn more quickly and more efficiently through the
vernacular and are able to grasp the matter much more easily in it, the
medium of instruction in legal education should be Hindi. If the language
of legal education and that of courts differ, as it does in our context, it
creates a big problem to the legal interactants. In order to remove this
difficulty the language of the masses, i.e. Hindi should be made the
language of education and also of the courts.
11. "The Committee on Legal Education in Changing World" observes
that the legal educators face problems in Asian and African countries
such as India, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Israel, Indonesia, etc. which are
adopting nationallregional languages as the medium of legal education.
Some Indian Law Schools now teach in Hindi, in Sri Lanka there are now
three streams- Singhala, Tamil and English, and in Sudan much of the
teaching is in Arabic.
12. instruction is generally regarded now as a part of a wider national
policy to change the language of the legal system and of education.
There can be various reasons for such a policy. The nationaVregional
language may be intended to be used as a vehicle for national unity (as
Vol.X:III] HINDI IN LEGAL EDUCATION 259
in India, Indonesia, Tanzania); it may be manifestation of nationalism (as
in Sudan); it may be a significant correlate of linguistic unity (as in India);
or it may be more important consideration. But a legal system which is
not understood by the majority of the citizens, may fail to inspire
confidence in its fairness. The parties .to a Siigation may fail to
understand the proceedings. Countries like ours, which are striving
towards models of popular participation in the machinery of justice, find
the use of language of masses to be an essential preliminary. Therefore,
the use of Hindi and other official language in the legal field occupies a
central place in the language policy of the Central and State
Government. It is of vital importance for the development of law and
national legal system in which people can participate and seek justice
without any communication barrier.
13. Earlier, almost all the laws were enacted in English and the
medium of instruction in legal education was English. It is said that Hindi
is inadequate and inadaptable in legal education, and that if Hindi is
made a medium of instruction in legal education the following problems
may have to be faced:
(1) Lack of legal glossary and uniformity in vocabulary;
(2) Problem of translation;
(3) Lack of legal literature in Hindi;
(4) Inadequacy and inadaptibility of Hindi;
(5) Standard of legal education; and
(6) Legal education at the International level.
14. Article 351 of the Constitution provides that it shall be the duty of
the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language and develop it so
that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the
composite culture of India, and to secure hs enrichment by assimilating
without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expression used
in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth
Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its
vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and, secondarily, on other languages.
260 CENTRAL INDIA LAW QUARTERLY [ 997
To achieve this objectives and under the direction under para 13 of the
Presidential Order dated 27 April, 1960, the Official Language
(Legislative) Commission was established by the Central Government in
1961,which published a Legal Glossary in 1970. The Official Language
Wing, Legislative Dept. Ministry of Law and Justice took over the work of
the Commission in 1976 and has published the latest legal Glossary in
1992. Madhya Pradesh is proud of having compiled a Legal Glossary
(Srivastava Law Dictionary), which was done by Shri Parameshwar
Dayal Srivastava in 1939.Now all the Hindi-speaking States, including
Madhya Pradesh, have adopted the Legal Glossary as a model and use
the words contained in it to maintain uniformity and certainty in the legal
sphere Now has been fixed for judges of the Supreme Court,
High Courts and Lower Courts (all judges). However, 'yii =m~J7? has
been fixed for the Chief Justice. The Hindi words 'm and " % "
v ! are
synonyms and give the same meaning, but presently they are fixed for
"Minister" and "Secretary" respectively.
15. "The Committee on Legal Education in changing World" pointed
out the problem of finding exact equivalents in indigenous languages to
highly sophisticated legal terms imported from the Western legal
systems. It may, however, be noted that a language grows and develops
through use and that the Legal Glossary contains words terms and
expressions which are, ultimately, derived from Arabic, Persian, English,
French and other foreign languages on one hand and Sanskrit, Marathi,
Gujarati, Malyalam and other Indian languages on the other. The Hindi
legal terms are appropriate, adaptable and communicative. They are
based on the principles of precision, clarity and adaptability. Thus, the
objections regarding lack of legal glossary does not appear to be sound.
16. It is also said that there is dearth of sufficient, authoritative and
good translated law books in Hindi. The "Committee on legal Education
in Changing World has also opined that there are problems to translate
the laws into the local language and to prepare legal lexicons and that
unless there is sufficient legal literature in the local language, there will
be problems of teaching materials, without which it will not be proper to
shift to the medium of instruction in that language, However, it may be
pointed out that the Official Languages Wing, Legislative Dept., Ministry
of Law and Justice is busy with the preparation of authoritative
Vol.X:III] HINDI IN LEGAL EDUCATION 261
translations into Hindi. To meet the need of the society, all laws,
ordinances, rules, regulations, bye-laws, notifications and statutes
require to be translated into Hindi or other languages. Authoritative
translation is a must to bring uniformity and to avoid ambiguity and
confusion. The provision for the Hindi authoritative text could be made in
the lndian Constitution only in 1987 (vide the 58th Amendment Act,
1987) by inserting a new Article, i.e. 394-A, which removed the
anomalies prevalent in legal domain. Long back the Central Law Press,
Chhindwara, had published Hindi translation of the lndian Penal Code,
the Code of Civil Procedure, the lndian Evidence Act, etc. in 1900, 1909
and 1915 respectively. The Madhya Pradesh Rajbhasha (Anupurak
Upbandh) Adniniyam, 1972 was enacted by the State Government to
provide for the publication of authoritative texts in Hindi of laws passed
originially in English. The Central and State Governments have made
provisions to award prizes to good translated books. Legal translation
assumes prominence in judicial process. "One Word, One Meaning" is
the essence of legal language. It must communicate what the makers of
law intend. The problem of translation, if any, can be removed making
use of services of dedicated, honest and competent translation. In order
to train the translators equipped institutes for scientific study of
translation should be established by the Central and State Governments.
17. It is also complained that there is lack of sufficient legal literature
in Hindi. There was problem in the beginning, but by coordinated efforts
of the Governments and the public now law books and literature are
available in abundance. In order to promote original Hindi law books the
Government has made provisions for cash awards, of Rs. 10,000, 5,000,
3,000 and 2,000 and a certificate to the authors.' Today not only law
books but law journals in Hindi, such as Uchchatam Nyayalaya Nirnaya
Patrika, Uchcha Nyayalaya Civil Nirnaya Patrika, Uchcha Nyayalaya
Dandika Nirnaya Patrika, etc., are available.
18. It has been pleaded from a section of the society from time to time
that for maintaining high standards in legal education the medium of
instruction must be only English as books of good quality are not
7. The Government of Madhya Bharat (vide its Law Department Nofification No. 115 dated
26 November 1948) declared Hindi in the Devanagari script to be the official language of
the subordinate courts.
262 CENTRAL INDIA LAW QUARTERLY [I 997
available in Hindi. Hindi is inadequate,and also lacks adaptability. The
objections raised, however, are not true. Hindi is a fairly developed
language and is fully capable of conveying and carrying the ideas of its
speakers. It also has effective communicability.
19. It is also occasionally maintained that if legal education is given in
Hindi it will lose its importance at the international level, But the criticism
is not based on sound reasoning as law must devetop in the people's
language for unity, integrity and interest of the nation.
20. The medium of instruction and examination is generally Hindi in
legal education and the language of sub-ordinate courts is also Hindi in
the Devanagari script in Madhya Pradesh. The law books are published
in Hindi to fulfil the needs of the students, teachers, lawyers and judges.
Hindi as a language of law has stood up, slowly but steadily, to keep
pace with time and the need of the society. The Presidential Order of
1960 claims that English shall be replaced by Hindi in due course. The
ripe and right time has come to replace English with Hindi in every
sphere of law, and that will be possible only when the medium of
instruction in legal education is Hindi. To maintain a well-ordered society,
enforcement of law is coded, which, if not available in the language of
the people, results in legal illiteracy and lack of legal education. To avoid
such a situation fytd for proper development of law as well as national
legal system in whic&people can participate and seek justice without any
communicative barrier, people's language should be the language of
21. Law affects the people, the society and the nation. Every citizen is
expected to know the law of the land and it should be accessible to
everyone. To achieve this very objective and make the law
understandable by the common man, the need of the hour is to frame
laws in easy, simple and compact language, and necessarily in the
language of the people, i.e. Hindi. Yhe use of Hindi in legal field is
conducive to the optimum flow of information necessary in delivery of
justice. It would provide the people a convenient access to justice and
increase their participation in judicial process. A people's language is an
indispensable part of smooth sailing of justice. Hindi is destined to grant
linguistic homogeneity to Indians and acquire significance as the vehicle
Vol.X:III] HINDI IN LEGAL EDUCATION 263
of convenience, as the instrument of unity and as the bridge of
communication during the movement of the chariot wheels of justice on
the road towards effective welfare of the ma~ses."~
8. 1. Avdhesh Pratap Singh Vishwavidyalaya, Rewa (A.P.S., Rewa).
2. Barkatullah Vihwavidyalaya, Bhopal (B.V.V.. Bhopal).
3. Devi Ahilya Vihwavidyahya, lndore (D.A.V., Indore).
4. Doctor Harisingh Gour Vishwavtdyalaya, Sagar (Dr. H.S.G.V.V., Sagar).
5. Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya, Bilaspur (G.G.V.V., Bilaspur).
6. Jiwaji University. Gwalior (J.U., gwalior).
7. Pt. Ravi Shankar Shukla Vishwavidyalaya. Raipur (Pt. R.S.V.V., Raipur).
8. Vikram University, Ujjain (V.U.. Ujjain).
9. Rani Durgavati Vihwavidyalaya, Jabalpur, (R.D.V.V., Jabalpur).
9. s m f . ~ - r n z f i ~ * r n - m * d a f t ~ r 9 i \ 9 . * ~ , m .
10. Tewari, Dr. G.S., Law and Language, 1996, p. 202.