The Supreme Court today told a litigant, who appeared in person and started arguing his case in Hindi, that the language of this court is English.
A bench of Justices KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy provided petitioner Shankar Lal Sharma, who is an elderly man, with a legal-aid counsel after finding that he was not able to understand what the court was saying.
As soon as his matter was called up, Mr Sharma started arguing in Hindi, saying that his case has travelled to different courts, including the top court, but he has not got any relief from anywhere.
“We have read the case file. This is a very convoluted matter, but we are not able to understand what you are saying,” Justice Joseph told Mr Sharma.
“The language of this court is English. If you wish, we can provide you a lawyer who will argue your case,” the judge said.
Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Divan, who was appearing in another court, rushed to the help of Mr Sharma and translated to him what the bench was saying.
After talking to Mr Sharma, Ms Divan told the bench that the petitioner is willing to accept the court’s proposal to have a legal-aid lawyer, who can argue his case.
The bench then asked another lawyer who was sitting just behind Mr Sharma, whether he can assist the petitioner.
After he agreed, the bench told the lawyer: “Hope, you are doing it pro bono.” “Yes, I will be doing it pro bono,” the lawyer said.
The bench posted the matter for further hearing on December 4 and asked the lawyer to go through the case file.