The top court will soon take up two contempt petitions against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for not notifying Urdu as the national language, despite explicit court orders.
The three-judge apex court bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam will hear the petitions on January 28.
Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi and Mian Zahid Ghani have taken the premier to court for violating its September 8, 2015, verdict and delivering official speeches in the English language on several occasions.
The bench will also take up the Punjab government’s review plea to revise its judgment only to the extent of obligating the respective governments to translate all available laws from English to Urdu within three months.
In September, the Supreme Court had asked the government to consider and implement Urdu as the official language within three months.
This means the translation to Urdu of all the competitive examinations at the federal level besides the judgements in cases relating to public interest and judgements according to Article 189.
Similarly, in the court cases, the government departments should make all reasonable efforts to submit their replies in Urdu to enable citizens to enforce their legal rights effectively.
The court had said if subsequent to this judgement, any public bodies or public officials continued to violate the constitutional commands of Article 251, citizens who suffer a tangible loss directly and resulting from such violation shall be entitled to enforce any civil rights.
The petitioners claim the Punjab government has already completed the translation of around 150 different laws, which now have been uploaded on the official website. Expression of interest has also been floated in daily newspapers for outsourcing of translation of laws of Punjab.
The provincial government has also received proposals against the expression of interest and the process of consultant selection is likely to be completed soon.
The review petition, however, states it is humanly and practically impossible to adhere to the time span of three months suggested by the top court for the translation of laws from English to Urdu — considering the vast reservoir of laws on different subjects.
“It is on account of this inconsistency and problem that the provincial government is constrained to file this review petition,” the petition reads, adding the court should consider extending the three-month condition to a reasonable period.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2016.