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India

Constitution as adopted on 26 November 1949, updated to 1996.

Article 29

    1. Any section of the citizens of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.

    2. No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the state or receiving aid out of state funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language, or any of them.

Article 30

    1. All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

    1A. In making any law providing for the compulsory acquisition of any property of an educational institution established and administered by a minority, referred to in clause 1, the state shall ensure that the amount fixed by or determined under such law for acquisition of such property is such as would restrict or abrogate the right guaranteed under that clause.

    2. The state shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.

Article 120

    1. Notwithstanding anything in Part XVII, but subject to the provisions of Article 348, business in Parliament shall be transacted in Hindi or in English: Provided that the Chairman of the Council of States or Speaker of the House of the People, or person acting as such, as the case may be, may permit any member who cannot adequately express himself in Hindi or in English to address the House in his mother tongue.

    2. Unless Parliament by law otherwise provides, this article shall, after the expiration of a period of fifteen years from the commencement of this Constitution, have effect as if the words "or in English" were omitted therefrom.

Article 210

    1. Notwithstanding anything in Part XVII, but subject to the provisions of Article 348, business in the Legislature of a state shall be transacted in the official language or languages of the state or in Hindi or in English:
    Provided that the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly or Chairman of the Legislative Council, or person acting as such, as the case may be, may permit any member who cannot adequately express himself in any of the languages aforesaid to address the House in his mother tongue.

    2. Unless the Legislature of the state by law otherwise provides, this article shall, after the expiration of a period of fifteen years from the commencement of this Constitution, have effect as if the words "or in English" were omitted therefrom:
    Provided that in relation to the Legislature of the states of Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura this clause shall have effect as if the words "fifteen years" occurring therein, the words "twenty-five years" were substituted.

Article 343

    1. 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.

    2. Notwithstanding anything in clause 1, 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 of the 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...

    8. Notwithstanding anything in this article, Parliament may by law provide for the use, after the said period of fifteen years of:

      (a) the English language, or

      (b) the Devanagari form of numerals,

    for such purposes as may be specified in the law.

Article 344

    1. The President shall, at the expiration of five years from the commencement of this Constitution and thereafter at the expiration of ten years from such commencement, by order constitute a Commission which shall consist of a Chairman and such other members representing the different languages specified in the Eighth Schedule as the President may appoint, and the order shall define the procedure to be followed by the Commission.

    2. It shall be the duty of the Commission to make recommendations to the President as to:

      (a) the progressive use of the Hindi language for the official purposes of the Union;

      (b) restrictions on the use of the English language for all or any of the official purposes of the Union;

      (c) the language to be used for all or any of the purposes mentioned in Article 348;

      (d) the form of numerals to be used for any one or more specified purposes of the Union;

      (e) any other matter referred to the Commission by the President as regards the official language of the Union and the language for communication between the Union and a state or between one state and another and their use.

    3. In making their recommendations under clause 2, the Commission shall have due regard to the industrial, cultural and scientific advancement of India, and the just claims and the interest of persons belonging to the non-Hindi speaking areas in regard to the public services.

Article 345

    Subject to the provision of Articles 346 and 347, 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.

Article 346

    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 communications between states, that language may be used for such communication.

Article 347

    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.

Article 348

    1. Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this Part, until Parliament by law otherwise provides:
      (a) all proceedings in the Supreme Court and in every High Court,

      (b) the authoritative texts:

        (i) of all bills to be introduced or amendments thereto to be moved in either House of Parliament or in the House or either House of the Legislature of a state,

        (ii) of all Acts passed by Parliament or the Legislature of a state and of all ordinances promulgated by the President or the Governor of a state, and

        (iii) of all orders, rules, regulations and bylaws issued under this Constitution or under any law made by Parliament or the Legislature of a state,

      shall be in the English language.

    2. Notwithstanding anything in subclause (a) of clause 1, the Governor of a state may, with the previous consent of the President, authorise the use of the Hindi language or any other language used for any official purposes of the state, in proceedings in the High Court having its principal seat in that state: Provided that nothing in this clause shall apply to any judgement, decree or order passed or made by such High Court.

    3. Notwithstanding anything in subclause (b) of clause 1, where the Legislature of a state has prescribed any language other than the English language for use in bills introduced in, acts passed by the Legislature of the state, or in any order, rule, regulation or bylaw referred to in paragraph (iii) of that subclause, a translation of the same in the English language published under the authority of the Governor of the state in the official Gazette of that state shall be deemed to be the authoritative text thereof in the English language under this article.

Article 349

    During the period of fifteen years from the commencement of this Constitution no bill or amendment making provision for the language to be used for any of the purposes mentioned in clause 1 of Article 348 shall be introduced or moved in either House of Parliament without the previous sanction of the President, and the President shall not give his sanction to the introduction of any such bill or the moving of any such amendment except after he has taken into consideration the recommendations of the Commission constituted under clause 1 of Article 344 and the report of the Committee constituted under clause 4 of that article.

Article 350

    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 inn the state, as the case may be.

Article 350A

    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 350B

    1. There shall be a special officer for linguistic minorities to be appointed by the President.

    2. 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 governments of the states concerned.

Article 351

    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 expression 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.

Eighth Schedule

    1. Assamese. 2. Bengali. 3. Gujarati. 4. Hindi. 5. Kannada. 6. Kashmiri. 7. Malayalam. 8. Marathi. 9. Oriya. 10. Punjabi. 11. Sanskrit. 12. Sindhi. 13. Tamil. 14. Telegu. 15. Urdu. 16. Konkani. 17. Manipuri. 18. Nepali.

Note: The complete text of the Constitution and further information on the constitutional background of India are provided by the International Constitutional Law Project at the University of Wuerzburg.


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