Madras HC declines stay on new criminal laws but seeks Centre’s response on Hindi nomenclature

The Madras High Court has decided not to stay the implementation of three new criminal laws that replaced the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Indian Evidence Act, effective July 1.

According to a report by Bar and Bench, the High Court’s decision came amidst a plea challenging the laws’ Sanskrit and Hindi nomenclature.

The laws in question, namely the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, have sparked controversy due to their Hindi and Sanskrit names.

A bench comprising Acting Chief Justice R Mahadevan and Justice Mohammed Shaffiq has issued a notice to the Central government in response to the plea arguing that these names are unconstitutional.

The PIL, filed by Thoothukudi-based lawyer B Ramkumar Adityan, argues that assigning Hindi and Sanskrit names to these laws violates Article 348(1)(a) of the Constitution. The petitioner highlights that while only nine states and two union territories in India have Hindi as their official language, Hindi is not the mother tongue of 56.37% of Indians.

The petitioner contends that this move disregards the constitutional mandate that proceedings in the Supreme Court and High Courts must be conducted in English.