Indian Constitution
General Knowledge

The Official Languages

The Official Languages

» The Official language of the Union is Hindi in Devanagri script [Art. 343]. English was to continue to be used as principal official language of the Union side-by-side with Hindi till 1965.
» The first Official Language Commission was appointed in 1955 under Shri B.G. Kher as Chairman and it recommended that a rigid date line for change over of language should not be prescribed. This recommendation was accepted.

Language of the State/Link Language

» Article 345 seeks to tackle the issue of the official language for each state and the language for intra-State official transactions.
» The Legislature of a State can adopt any one or more languages used in the State or Hindi for the official purposes of that State. There is also a provision for the recognition of any other language for the official purpose of a State or any part thereof, upon a substantial popular demand for it being made to the President (Ref. : Art. 347}.

Language of the SC and HCs and authoritative text of laws :

» Until Parliament by law provides otherwise, English is the language of authoritative text of —
  ★ All proceedings in the Supreme Court and in every High Court.
  ★ All Bills or amendments thereto moved in either House of Parliament or the State Legislature.
  ★ All Acts passed by Parliament or the Legislature of a State.
  ★ All Ordinances promulgated by the President or the Governor of a State.
  ★ All orders rules, regulations and by-laws issued under Constitution or under any law made by Parliament or the legislature of a State.

» A State Legislature can prescribe the use of any language other than English for Bills and Acts passed by itself or Subordinate Legislation made thereunder.
» The languages included in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution are: Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malyalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepalese, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Maithili, Santhali, Dogri and Bodo.
» Sindhi was inserted by the Constitution (21st Amendment) Act, 1967.
» Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali were inserted by the Constitution (71st Amendment) Act, 1992.
» Maithili, Dogri, Bodo and Santhali were inserted by the Constitution (92nd Amendment) Act, 2003.
» The only privileges gained by the languages included in the 8th Schedule are :
  ★ To have a member in the Official Language Commission.
  ★ To be considered for contribution towards the development of Hindi language.