New Delhi (Sept. 29, 2010): Students of Punjab, under the banner of Sikh Students Federation, approached the Bar Council of India at New Delhi to oppose the decision of BCI that has allegedly resulted in discrimination against Punjabi Language.
Recently the BCI decided to take All India Bar Examination (AIBE), which is to be conducted in English, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Oriya, Telugu, Tamil and Kannar, but ironically BCI ignored Punjabi as medium.
Student delegation led by SSF National President Parmjeet Singh Gazi tendered a memorandum signed by more than 1100 students to Shri Gopal Subramaiam, Chairman of BCI, at his residence and also raised the issue with Prof. Venit Bernard Coutinho, BCI’s Director of Legal Education. Other members of delegation were Advocate Avikal Goel, Advocate Kamaljeet Singh Deon, Sr. Sukhinderdeep Singh, Sr. Pardeep Singh and Shri Jitesh Singla.
Memorandum, written in Punjabi and accompanied by English translation, marks that ‘Punjabi is one of the Languages recognized under Eighth Schedule of Constitution of India and it is the official language of the state of Punjab’. In addition to it, ‘business of Lower Courts and all state offices is also conducted in Punjabi’. Moreover, ‘Punjabi University, Patiala is imparting legal education in Punjabi Language since 1960s. Students receive their LL. B. degrees in Punjabi duly recognized by the BCI’.
“In purview of above facts, it is clear that the decision of BCI to ignore Punjabi is not justifiable and amounts to discrimination against Punjabi Students and Punjabi Language.” said Parmjeet Singh Gazi, who further added that SSF is a student organization, which takes up issues related to students, from time to time, and prefers the path of democratic talks to find timely solution to students’ grievances and avoid unnecessary conflicts.
SSF has asked BCI that it should set students at liberty to choose Punjabi as their medium of All India Bar Examination, if conducted; thus this discrimination against Punjabi Language should be brought to an end. As 31st October, 2010 is last date for filing applications, decision in this regard should be immediately taken without any unnecessary delay. Secondly, the BCI should make sure that Punjabi or any other regional/people’s language is not discriminated against, in future.
Prof. Coutinho, BCI’s Director of Legal Education, admitted that ‘non-inclusion of Punjabi as a medium for AIBE, amounts to discrimination’. He said that Directorate of Legal Education (DLE) had favoured the inclusion of all regional languages, including Punjabi and Malyallam but the decision in this regard was taken by the BCI without consultation with the DLE. He assured students to take up the issue with Chairman of the BCI.