Section 272 CrPC: Language of Courts in India – Code of Criminal Procedure

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Section 272 CrPC: Language of Courts in India – Code of Criminal Procedure

1. Code

Section 272 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973 states:

All proceedings in any Court shall be in the official language of the State in which such Court is situated. However, if any party to a proceeding does not understand the official language of the State, the Court shall, if it is practicable, make arrangements for the proceedings to be conducted in a language that the party understands.

2. Explanation

Section 272 CrPC ensures that proceedings in Indian courts are conducted in a language accessible to all parties involved. The principle is to facilitate fair and equal access to justice for everyone, regardless of their language proficiency.

  • Official Language: The primary language for court proceedings is the official language of the state where the court is located.
  • Language Assistance: If a party doesn’t understand the official language, the court must make reasonable efforts to provide assistance, such as:
    • Using an interpreter
    • Allowing the party to use a language they understand
  • Practicality: The court’s ability to provide language assistance depends on the practicality of the situation. Resources and logistics are factors considered.

3. Illustration

Imagine a person from Tamil Nadu, who speaks only Tamil, is accused of a crime in a Delhi court. As Delhi’s official language is Hindi, the court must make arrangements to ensure the accused understands the proceedings. This could involve using a Tamil interpreter or allowing the accused to use a Tamil translator.

4. Common Questions and Answers

  • Q: Can a party insist on using a specific language other than the official language?
  • A: While the court must make reasonable efforts to assist parties, it’s not bound to conduct proceedings in any language the party demands. The court will consider practicality and available resources.
  • Q: What happens if the court cannot provide language assistance?
  • A: If it’s not practicable to provide assistance, the court may have to postpone the proceedings until such assistance becomes available. However, this should be a last resort.
  • Q: Can an accused person refuse to participate in court proceedings because they don’t understand the language?
  • A: The accused cannot simply refuse to participate. The court has a duty to ensure understanding, and the accused has a responsibility to cooperate in the process.
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