Settling Language For Cooperative Federalism

Settling Language For Cooperative Federalism


Part XVll of the constitution from Art. 343 to 351 deal with official language

Official languages of the Union- Hindi in Devanagiri Script and English.

The Official Languages Act (1963) provides that English should be the communication language between the Union and the non-Hindi states.

  • 345 leaves it to the states to choose its language for official purposes. In actual practice several states continue to use English.
  • Art 348 stipulates that proceedings in Supreme court, Every High court and of bills etc. In Parliament shall be in English language . However, Governor of a State may, with the previous consent of the President can authorise the use of the Hindi language, or any other language used for any official purposes.
  • 351 directs Union Govt. to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India, by assimilating in it the forms, style and expressions used in the languages specified in the Eighth Schedule of the constitution.
  • Committee on Official language consisting of 30 members of Parliament is headed by Home Minister. Its mandate is to review the progress made in the use of Hindi for official purposes, and to recommend measures to increase its usage for official purposes. It submits its report to the President of India. ( It is not a parliamentary committee in the conventional sense as it does not works under the guidance of Speaker or Chairman).
  • The 11th report highlighted some of its recommendations on language of instruction and examination for technical courses. It raises some concerns like availability of standard material , qualified teachers and ability to compete on equal footing by non Hindi background students.
  • Art 344. stipulates that just claims and interests of persons belonging to the non Hindi speaking areas in regard to the public services shall be considered by the President.

What is 8th schedule?

The eighth schedule include following 22 languages:

  • Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Santhali, Maithili and Dogri.
  • There is no fixed criteria for any language to be considered for inclusion in the Eighth Schedule

Classical Languages

  • Currently, six languages enjoy the ‘Classical’ status: Tamil , Sanskrit , Kannada , Telugu , Malayalam and Odia
  • All the Classical Languages are listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
  • The guidelines for declaring a language as ‘Classical’ are:
    • High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years.
    • A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers.
    • The literary tradition is original and not borrowed from another speech community.
    • The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.

Way Forward- Going by the spirit of cooperative federalism Union Govt. Should proceed only after consulting all states on the issue of language. India’s rich diversity of languages is an asset and should be celebrated as such.

Syllabus- Mains; GS-2, Federalism