Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala High Court has become the first high court in the country to publish its judgements in the vernacular language by uploading on to to the high court website Malayalam translations of two judgements delivered by a division bench headed by Chief Justice S Manikumar.
The move is in keeping with the decision by the Supreme Court to publish judgments in regional languages, including Hindi, Gujarati, Odia, and Tamil.
The translations, however, come with a disclaimer that, in case of a dispute, the original judgment in English shall be final and binding.
AI-powered software used for translations
The initiative is part of a pilot project that uses the AI-powered Supreme Court Vidhik Anuvad Software (Suvas) and is ratified by the court’s official translators.
The move to publish judgments in vernacular languages comes against the backdrop of verdicts in English not being comprehensible to 99.9 per cent of people and thus, justice not being meaningful to them as the orders are not available in a language that they understand.
There has been a push from the executive and the judiciary towards publication of judgements of the Supreme Court and high courts in regional languages, ever since Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud took office in November 2022.
1,091 judgements translated so far
As a first step in this direction, the top court has organised translations of 1,091 judgements into Hindi, 52 to Tamil, 29 to Malayalam, 28 to Telugu, 21 to Odia, 17 to Kannada, 14 to Marathi, 4 each to Assamese and Punjabi, and three each to Urdu and Nepali.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also been appreciative of the judiciary's focus on making judgements more accessible to citizens who may not be well versed in English. "At a recent function, CJI Justice DY Chandrachud spoke of the need to work towards making SC judgements available in regional languages. He also suggested the use of technology for it. This is a laudatory thought, which will help many people, particularly youngsters," the PM tweeted on January 22.
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