Supreme Court asks government to respond to plea to use ‘plain English’

Everything is so complicated and confusing, submits petitioner

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the government to respond to a plea to use “plain English” for drafting laws, Government Orders and notifications to make them digestible for the public.

Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde referred to writer Anthony Burgess’s work Language Made Plain, and said the more simple the language, the more people were attracted to it.

The Bench, led by the Chief Justice of India, issued notice to the government on a petition filed by Dr. Subhash Vijayran, who also wants a new course of study in law colleges called ‘Legal Writing in Plain English’. Stodgy sounding legalese and officialese merely confuse, the petition maintains.

The petition said the government should release guides which would help ordinary people make an intelligent study of laws. These handbooks should be written in simple language. Dr. Vijayran said legal drafting is often couched in “dull” if not “pompous” terms.

“Everything is so complicated and confusing,” he submitted.

The petitioner also said the oral arguments of lawyers in court should not be rambling, but made to the point so that the court gets time for all and not an elite few.

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