Ambedkar had proposed Sanskrit as official language: CJI Bobde

NAGPUR: Chief Justice of India Sharad Bobde on Wednesday said B R Ambedkar had proposed Sanskrit as the “official national language” of India as he understood the political and social issues well and knew what the people wanted.

The CJI also said the ancient Indian text “Nyayshastra” is “not a bit” inferior to Aristotle and the Persian system of logic, and “there is no reason why we should forsake, overlook, and not benefit from the geniuses of our ancestors”.

CJI Bobde was speaking at the inauguration of the academic building of the Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU) here in Maharashtra.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackrey, Union minister and Nagpur MP Nitin Gadkari and others participated in this event virtually.

Remembering B R Ambedkar on his 130th birth anniversary, the CJI said, “Today morning, I was in a fix about which language should I deliver this speech. Today is the birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar which reminds me that the conflict between the language to be used while speaking and the language to be used during work is very old”.

He said the Supreme Court gets many representations on what should be the language of subordinate courts, but I feel this subject is not being looked into.

“But Dr Ambedkar had anticipated this aspect and he had mooted a proposal saying that the official language of the Union of India should be Sanskrit,” the CJI said.

The CJI said he cannot recall whether that proposal, which had signatures of some Maulvis, pandits, priests and Ambdekar, was tabled (in the constituent Assembly).

“It was Ambedkar’s opinion that since Tamil is not acceptable in north India it might be opposed there and likewise Hindi will be opposed in south India. But, there is less possibility of opposition to Sanskrit in north India or south India and hence he had mooted that proposal, but it did not succeed,” CJI Bobde said.

The chief justice of India said Ambedkar possessed knowledge of not only about the law but he also knew social and political issues very well.

“He knew what the people, the poor of the country wanted. He had full knowledge about all these aspects and I feel that is why he thought of putting up this proposal,” the CJI said.

He said the law school is a nursery of the legal profession.

“Law school is the nursery from which springs forth the harvest of our legal profession as well as judges. Dreams of many people have come true with the Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU),” the CJI said.

He further said the MNLU intended to “impart a national outlook to students and faculty who are drawn from all over the country”.

“There is no regionalism and no narrow-mindedness and this distinguishes a national law university from any other kind,” he said.

CJI Bobde said two unique courses are taught at the MNLU including a course that will produce judges much on the lines of the National Defence Academy (NDA) which not only produces soldiers but officers, and the other course is on ‘Nyayshastra’.

“The Indian judicial system was inherited from the British which uses logic and the origin of logic is Aristotle. But the ‘Nyayshastra’ which was developed in India is not the least bit inferior to Aristotle or the Persian system of logic.

“I see no reason why we should forsake, overlook and not benefit from the geniuses of our ancestors and that is how this course began which is unique,” CJI Bobde said.

The CJI is set to retire on April 23. He will be succeeded by Justice NV Ramana as his successor.

Speaking on the occasion, CM Thackrey congratulated the MNLU saying the state government will always support the judiciary and its institutions.

He appealed to MNLU teachers to hone students well so that after becoming judges or lawyers they will always uphold the values of democracy.

“B R Ambedkar not just practised law in the court but he fought on roads for equal social justice,” the CM said.

He appealed to students graduating from the MNLU that their training and expertise should help the underprivileged sections of society.

On the occasion, Gadkari appreciated the contribution of Bobde as the CJI, Justice Bhushan Gavai, former SC judge Vikas Sirpurkar apart from ex-CM Devendra Fadnavis and Thackrey in realising the dream of the MNLU in Nagpur.

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