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Need to amend the Official Languages Act for good governance: CJI

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Need to amend the Official Languages Act for good governance: CJI:


Context:

Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde has said that the government should consider amending the Official Languages Act of 1963 to include more vernacular languages in governance, and not just confine it to Hindi and English.

Background:

The court was hearing an appeal filed by the Union of India challenging the legality of a Delhi High Court judgment of June 30 to translate the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification of 2020 into all 22 vernacular languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

What the Constitution says?

  • Article 348 (1) of the Constitution of India provides that all proceedings in the Supreme Court and in every High court shall be in English Language until Parliament by law otherwise provides.
  • Under Article 348 (2), the Governor of the State may, with the previous consent of the President, authorize the use of the Hindi language or any other language used for any official purpose of the State, in the proceedings of the High Court having its principal seat in that State provided that decrees, judgments or orders passed by such High Courts shall be in English.

Other legal provisions:

Section 7 of the Official Languages Act, 1963, provides that the use of Hindi or official language of a State in addition to the English language may be authorized, with the consent of the President of India, by the Governor of the State for purpose of judgments etc. made by the High Court for that State.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Which states in India have the provision of optional use of Hindi in Court proceedings?
  2. What is Eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution.
  3. What is Article 348 related to?
  4. Governors’ powers to authorise the use of Hindu in High Court proceedings.
  5. Who can add or remove languages from 8thschedule?
  6. Overview of the Official Languages Act of 1963.

Mains Link:

Discuss why the government should consider amending the Official Languages Act of 1963 to include more vernacular languages in governance, and not just confine it to Hindi and English.

Sources: the Hindu.