English for communication between Union and States

Q.  Which of the following is/are true regarding language of communication in Indian polity?

1) Hindi communication between a Hindi and a non-Hindi state, should be accompanied by an English translation.
2) If one or more states want they can enter into an agreement with the Union to have language of communication to be Hindi along with English.

- Published on 16 Mar 17

a. Only 1
b. Only 2
c. Both 1 and 2
d. None of the above

ANSWER: Only 1
    Provisions for regional languages -

  • The legislature of a state may adopt any one or more of the languages in use in the state or Hindi as the official language of that state.

  • Until that is done, English is to continue as official language of that state.

  • For e.g. Gujarat has adopted Hindi in addition to Gujarati.

  • Similarly, Goa has adopted Marathi in addition to Konkani.

  • Jammu and Kashmir has adopted Urdu (and not Kashmiri).

  • On the other hand, certain north-eastern States like Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland have adopted English.

  • Notably, the choice of the state is not limited to the languages enumerated in the Eighth Schedule of the constitution.

  • For the time being, the official language of the Union (i.e., English) would remain the link language for communications between the Union and the states or between various states.

  • But, two or more states are free to agree to use Hindi (instead of English) for communication between themselves.

  • Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar are some of the states that have entered into such agreements.

  • The Official Language Act (1963) lays down that English should be used for purposes of communication between the Union and the non-Hindi states (that is, the states that have not adopted Hindi as their official language).

  • Further, where Hindi is used for communication between a Hindi and a non-Hindi state, such communication in Hindi should be accompanied by an English translation.

  • When the President (on a demand being made) is satisfied that a substantial proportion of the population of a state desire the use of any language spoken by them to be recognized by that state, then he may direct that such language shall also be officially recognized in that state.

  • This provision aims at protecting the linguistic interests of minorities in the states.

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