In a very interesting development, the Supreme Court on May 9 stayed a judgment of the Madras High Court, which had quashed a relaxation afforded to judges of lower courts to write their judgments in English instead of Tamil..The stay by the Supreme Court would mean that there would be no bar on judges of subordinate judiciary to write their judgments and orders in English..A Bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices PC Ghose and DY Chandrachud heard advocate V Vasanthakumar who appeared and argued in-person before staying the 2014 judgment of the High Court..The case has an interesting history. In 1976, two provisions were inserted in the Tamil Nadu Official Languages Act, 1956 by which it became mandatory for all civil and criminal courts subordinate to the High Court, to record evidence in Tamil and also to have the Judgments, Decrees and Orders written in Tamil..This was, however, challenged in Madras High Court. In 1994, a Full Bench of the Madras High Court dismissed this challenge..Things, however, did not end there. Certain representations were received from the Judicial Officers (who did not have knowledge of Tamil), seeking the permission of the High Court to continue to write judgments in English..On the basis of those representations, the Full Court of the High Court passed a resolution, granting a general amnesty to all subordinate Judicial Officers. In pursuance of the decision so taken in the Full Court, the Registrar General issued the impugned memorandum granting an option to Judicial officers to write judgments, orders, etc. in Tamil or in English..This office memorandum came to be challenged in High Court in 2010. The High Court passed its judgment in 2014 allowing the petitions and striking down the memorandum in question. It gave the following reasons for allowing the plea of the petitioner:.“(i)While the second proviso to Section 4-B(1) empowers the High Court to grant permission either to a class of presiding Officers or to a particular Presiding officer, the impugned circular grants permission to all Judicial Officers throughout the State. This is the first violation..(ii)The second illegality about the impugned circular is that the power under the second proviso can be exercised by the High Court, only in specified circumstances and for specified periods of time. But the impugned circular, does not even put a restriction with regard to time. The only circumstance which has necessitated the issue of the circular is that a few officers have, as their mother tongue, a language other than Tamil and that some of the enactments are not yet translated into Tamil and supplied to their Courts.”.Besides the above, the Madras High Court also noted that the circumstances which led to the resolution of the Full Court, leading to the issuance of the impugned memorandum, were not in existence any more..One of the reasons for passing the memorandum was that there were judges who did not have knowledge in Tamil. This reason became redundant because in 1996, the State amended the qualification criteria for judgeship and knowledge in Tamil became compulsory. Further, another reason for issuing the memorandum was that statutes were not available in Tamil. The Court noted that the said reason also does not hold ground any more since almost all enactments and judgments are now translated into Tamil..It, therefore, proceeded to quash the memorandum..This 2014 decision of the Madras High Court has now been challenged in Supreme Court by V Vasanthakumar. The Court had issued notice in the appeal in 2015..When the matter was taken up for hearing on May 9, the Court proceeded to stay the judgment of the High Court..Read the order of the Supreme Court and the judgment of the Madras High Court below.