The Chief Justice of India, N.V. Ramana, switched to his native language, Telugu on Wednesday, paving the way for peace between a couple imprisoned in a 20-year-old case.
Supreme Court justices often turn to Hindi when they learn that litigants (mainly applicants who petition in person) cannot speak or understand English. Interaction between courts and litigants in regional languages is rare in higher courts. On Wednesday, Chief Justice Ramana and Justice Surya Kant worked hard to ensure that the language barrier did not prevent access to justice in a country known for its linguistic diversity. Recently, the Supreme Court has translated its judgment from English into multiple regional languages. The purpose is to help the parties and the public to read the judgment and fully understand the law.
During the virtual court hearing, when the court noticed that the litigants were from Andhra Pradesh and could not express themselves freely in English, the incident began.
When asked about this, the woman told the bank that she did not speak fluent English or Hindi.
The Chief Justice consulted Judge Kant on the interaction with the Telugu litigants. CJI stated that it would translate for Judge Kant, and Judge Kant immediately agreed.
Lawsuit against husband
This case involved a complaint of harassment made by the woman against her husband in 2001 under Section 498A of the Indian Criminal Code. The court of the first instance found the man guilty and sentenced him to one year's imprisonment and 1,000 rupees.
The High Court upheld the original sentence but reduced his sentence to the elapsed sentence.
Women's higher court demanded a reduction of sentence. The court submitted the case to Hyderabad for mediation in 2012 but failed to reach an agreement.
On Wednesday, during the interaction with the CJI, the two parties agreed to work hard to reach an amicable solution.
"Due to the judge's initiative, this case will be resolved amicably. The court recommended that the appellant [woman], who may very well extend her husband's prison term but may lose her job as a result and not have the financial means to support her and her son. This marriage still exists and he has supported the family for 18 years, "said the husband's lawyer, D. Ramakrishna Reddy, on the main points of the conversation in Telugu at the cut.
Cases were added to the list two weeks later.