CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS REGARDING LANGUAGES IN INDIA
MEANING OF LANGUAGE
Language is a system of communication that consists of a set of sounds, symbols, and rules for combining them. It is a unique and fundamental aspect of human communication and expression. Language enables individuals to convey their thoughts, ideas, feelings, and information to others. It serves as a tool for social interaction, cultural expression, and the transmission of knowledge.
COMPONENTS OF LANGUAGE
Key components of language include:
Sounds (Phonetics and Phonology): Spoken language involves the production of sounds, and the study of these sounds is known as phonetics. Phonology deals with the organization and systematic arrangement of sounds in a particular language.
Words (Morphology): Language is composed of meaningful units known as words. Morphology is the study of the structure and formation of words.
Meaning (Semantics): Words and combinations of words convey meaning. Semantics is the study of meaning in language.
Grammar and Syntax: Grammar refers to the rules governing the structure of sentences and the arrangement of words. Syntax specifically deals with sentence structure.
Writing (Orthography): Many languages have a written form, and orthography is the set of conventions for writing a language.
Rules of Use (Pragmatics): Pragmatics involves the study of how context influences the interpretation of language. It includes the rules for appropriate language use in different social and cultural contexts.
Languages can vary significantly across cultures and regions, leading to the existence of numerous languages and dialects worldwide. Each language is a dynamic system that evolves over time, reflecting the cultural, historical, and social context of the communities that use it. Language is central to human identity and plays a crucial role in shaping thought, perception, and interaction.
CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS REGARDING LANGUAGES IN INDIA
The Eighth Schedule of the Constitution lists 22 languages that are recognized as scheduled languages. These languages are entitled to representation in the official languages of the Republic of India. The list can be amended by Parliament by law. The names of 22 languages are as follows:
Languages added in 1949: Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Oriya, Sanskriti, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu.
Languages added in 1967: Sindhi
Languages added in 1992: Konkani, Manipuri, Nepali
Languages added in 2004: Bodo, Dogri, Matithali, Santhali
There are three views regarding the Eighth Schedule:
- Some view it as the end- the ultimate goal (like by language activists)
- Some view the Schedule as a port that lies in the mid-course- as a milestone for direction or as an instrument of change.
- Some view the Schedule as a beginning- a preamble with expected political overtones and an policy of language engineering.
Criterion for inclusion of language in Eighth Schedule
Criteria for the inclusion of languages in the Eighth Schedule can be:
- Literary traditions and scripts of their own.
- Spoken by the largest number ofpeople in large contiguous geographical zones as dominant languages of certain regions.
- Political concessions. (Sindhi, Nepali)
- Being recognized as official languages in newly formed states. (Konkani, Manipuri)
- Being a classical language of culture and heritage and also a resource language in modernizing the major literary languages. (Sanskrit)
- Being spoken by a large population, geographically distributed and dispersed, but with its own script and literature. (Urdu)
This article deals with the official language of the Indian Union. It declares Hindi in the Devanagari script as the official language of the Union, with the provision that English shall continue to be used for official purposes for 15 years from the commencement of the Constitution.
- The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script. The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union shall be the international form of Indian numerals.
- Notwithstanding anything in clause ( I ), for a period of fifteen years from the commencement of this Constitution, the English language shall continue to be used for all the official purposes of the Union for which it was being used immediately before such commencement: Provided that the President may, during the said period, by order authorise the use ofthe Hindi language in addition to the English language and of the Devanagari form of numerals in addition to the international form of Indian numerals for any of the official purposes of the Union.
- 3. Notwithstanding anything in this article, Parliament may by law provide for the use, after the said period of fifteen years, of 4
(a)-the English language,
(b) or the Devanagari form of numerals, for such purposes as may be specified in the law.
This article provides for the constitution of a Commission by the President to make recommendations regarding the progressive use of the Hindi language and the restrictions on the use of the English language for official purposes.
Article 344(1) provides for the constitution of a Commission by the President on expiration of five years from the commencement of the Constitution and thereafter at the expiration of ten years from such commencement, which shall consist of a Chairman and such other members representing the different languages specified in the Eighth Schedule to make recommendations to the President for the progressive use of Hindi for official purposes of the Union.
It deals with the recognition of the official language or languages of states. States in India are allowed to have their own official languages for communication within the state.
The legislature of a State may by law adopt any one or more of the languages in use in the State or Hindi as the Language or Languages to be used for all or any of the official purposes of that State: Provided that, until the Legislature of the State otherwise provides by law, the English language shall continue to be used for those official purposes within the State for which it was being used immediately before the commencement of this Constitution.
This article empowers the state legislatures to adopt any one or more of the languages in use in the state or Hindi as the official language(s) of that state.
The language for the time being authorised for use in the Union for official purposes shall be the official language for communication between one State and another State and between a State and the Union : Provided that if two or more States agree that the Hindi language should be the official language for communication between such States, that language may be used for such communication.
This article allows the Governor of a state to recognize the use of any language spoken by a section of the population of that state for any official purposes.
On a demand being made in that behalf the President may, if he is satisfied that a substantial proportion of the population of a State desire the use of any language spoken by them to be recognised by that state, direct that such language shall also be officially recognised throughout that State or any part thereof for such purpose as he may specify.
This article provides for the directive to the state to provide facilities for instruction in the mother tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups.
Every person shall be entitled to submit a representation for the redress of any grievance to any officer or authority of the Union or a State in any of the languages used in the Union or in the State, as the case may be.
ARTICLE 350 A
It shall be the endeavour of every State and of every local authority within the State to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups; and the President may issue such directions to any State as he considers necessary or proper for securing the provision of such facilities.
ARTICLE 350 B
Special Officer for linguistic minorities
- There shall be a Special Officer for linguistic minorities to be appointed by the President.
- It shall be the duty of the Special officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under this Constitution and report to the President upon those matters at such intervals as the President may direct, and the president shall cause all such reports to be laid before each House of Parliament and sent to the Government of the States concerned.
This article directs the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language and to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India.
It shall be the duty of the Union 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 and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages.