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Language and Law: The Debate Over Hindi Names for Replacing Key Indian Penal Laws

A contentious discussion has broken out among lawmakers in India over the government’s plan to keep the names of the laws that will replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), and the Evidence Act in Hindi. The balance between linguistic diversity and the use of English as required by the Constitution has been called into question by this ruling.

A dispute arises among Indian lawmakers over keeping Hindi names for replacing IPC, CrPC, and Evidence Act. The linguistic diversity vs. English requirement in the Constitution sparks debate. Some opposition MPs, including DMK’s NR Elango, Dayanidhi Maran, and Congress’s Digvijaya Singh, object to the Hindi titles. They refer to Article 348, mandating English names for all laws. Proposed legislations: Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (replacing IPC), Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (replacing CrPC), and Bharatiya Sakshya Bill (replacing Evidence Act).

Bhalla argues that authorized texts are in English, so using Hindi or Sanskrit names is constitutional. Article 348 only permits English in authoritative texts, allowing bills in other languages. The administration asserts names are in Hindi, and content is in English, aligning with the constitution. DMK MP Elango questions this approach and suggests Tamil names with English content. Supports concerns that Hindi names may diminish linguistic diversity. India grapples with balancing national unity, regional diversity, and accessibility in legal systems through this language issue.

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