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Languages in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution

Official Languages: Constitutional Provisions

» The Constitution of India designates the official language of the Government of India as Hindi written in the Devanagari script, as well as English. There is no national language as declared by the Constitution of IndiaHindi and English are used for official purposes such as parliamentary proceedings, judiciary, communications between the Central Government and a State Government. States within India have the liberty and powers to specify their own official language(s) through legislation and therefore there are 22 officially recognized languages in India.
» The Indian constitution, in 1950, declared Hindi in Devanagari script to be the official language of the union. Unless Parliament decided otherwise, the use of English for official purposes was to cease 15 years after the constitution came into effect, i.e., on 26 January 1965.
» Parliamentary business, according to the Constitution, may be conducted in either Hindi or English. The use of English in parliamentary proceedings was to be phased out at the end of fifteen years unless Parliament chose to extend its use, which Parliament did through the Official Languages Act, 1963. In addition, the constitution permits a person who is unable to express themselves in either Hindi or English to, with the permission of the Speaker of the relevant House, address the House in their mother tongue.
» The constitution provides that all proceedings in the Supreme Court of India, the country's highest court and the High Courts, shall be in English. Parliament has the power to alter this by law, but has not done so. However, in many high courts, there is, with consent from the president, allowance of the optional use of Hindi. Such proposals have been successful in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.
» The Union government is required by law to progressively increase the use of Hindi in its official work, which it has sought to do through "persuasion, incentive and goodwill".
» The Official Language Act provides that the Union government shall use both Hindi and English in most administrative documents that are intended for the public. The Official Languages Rules, in contrast, provide for a higher degree of use of Hindi in communications between offices of the central government (other than offices in Tamil Nadu, to which the rules do not apply). Communications between different departments within the central government may be in either Hindi or English, although a translation into the other language must be provided if required.
» The Indian constitution does not specify the official languages to be used by the states for the conduct of their official functions, and leaves each state free to, through its legislature, adopt Hindi or any language used in its territory as its official language or languages. The language need not be one of those listed in the Eighth Schedule, and several states have adopted official languages which are not so listed. Examples include Kokborok in TripuraMizo in MizoramKhasi and Garo in Meghalaya.
» States have significantly less freedom in relation to determine the language in which judicial proceedings in their respective High Courts will be conducted. The constitution gives the power to authorise the use of Hindi, or the state's official language in proceedings of the High Court to the Governor, rather than the state legislature, and requires the Governor to obtain the consent of the President of India, who in these matters acts on the advice of the Government of India. The Official Languages Act gives the Governor a similar power, subject to similar conditions, in relation to the language in which the High Court's judgments will be delivered.
» Four states—BiharUttar PradeshMadhya Pradesh and Rajasthan—have been granted the right to conduct proceedings in their High Courts in their official language, which, for all of them, was Hindi. However, the only non-Hindi state to seek a similar power—Tamil Nadu, which sought the right to conduct proceedings in Tamil in its High Court—had its application rejected by the central government earlier, which said it was advised to do so by the Supreme Court. In 2006, the law ministry said that it would not object to Tamil Nadu state's desire to conduct Madras High Court proceedings in Tamil. In 2010, the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court allowed lawyers to argue cases in Tamil.
» Various steps have been taken by the Indian government to implement the use and familiarisation of Hindi extensively. Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha headquartered at Chennai was formed to spread Hindi in South Indian states. Regional Hindi implementation offices at BengaluruThiruvananthapuramMumbaiKolkataGuwahatiBhopalDelhi and Ghaziabad have been established to monitor the implementation of Hindi in Central government offices and PSUs.
» The Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution contains a list of 22 scheduled languages. At the time the constitution was enacted, inclusion in this list meant that the language was entitled to representation on the Official Languages Commission, and that the language would be one of the bases that would be drawn upon to enrich Hindi, the official language of the Union. The list has since, however, acquired further significance. The Government of India is now under an obligation to take measures for the development of these languages, such that "they grow rapidly in richness and become effective means of communicating modern knowledge." In addition, a candidate appearing in an examination conducted for public service at a higher level is entitled to use any of these languages as the medium in which he or she answers the paper.
» Via the 92nd Constitutional amendment 2003, four new languages – DogriMaithiliSantali and Bodo – were added to the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
» The table below lists the 22 languages set out in the Eighth Schedule as of May 2008, together with the regions where they are used.
» Even though the English language is not included in the Eighth Schedule (as it is a foreign language), it is one of the official languages of the Union of India.

List of Languages mentioned in Eighth Schedules of Indian Constitution

AssamArunachal Pradesh
West BengalTripuraAssamAndaman & Nicobar IslandsJharkhand[76]
Jammu and KashmirPunjab
Dadra and Nagar HaveliDaman and DiuGujarat
Andaman and Nicobar IslandsBiharChhattisgarhDelhiHimachal PradeshJharkhandMadhya PradeshRajasthanHaryanaUttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand
Jammu and Kashmir
MaharashtraGoaKarnataka and Kerala (The Konkan Coast)
Manipuri (also Meitei or Meithei)
MaharashtraGoaDadra & Nagar HaveliDaman and Diu
Sikkim, Darjeeling, Northeast India
Odisha, Jharkhand
ChandigarhDelhiHaryanaHimachal PradeshJammuPunjabRajasthanUttarakhand
Santhal tribals of the Chota Nagpur Plateau (comprising the states of BiharChhattisgarhJharkhandOdisha)
Sindh (now Sindh in Pakistan)
Tamil NaduAndaman & Nicobar IslandsPuducherry
Andhra PradeshTelanganaPuducherryAndaman & Nicobar Islands
Jammu and KashmirTelanganaDelhiBihar and Uttar Pradesh

» Of the 22 official languages, 15 are Indo-Aryan, four are Dravidian, two are Tibeto-Burman, and one is Munda.
» Since 2003, a government committee has been looking into the feasibility of treating all languages in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution as "Official Languages of the Union"
Frequently asked:
How many national languages are recognized by the Indian Constitution?
How many Indian languages have been notified in the Constitution?
Which language is not included in the 8th schedule?
Is English an official language in India?
8 schedule of Indian constitution recognizes how many languages
The Constitution of India recognises 22 languages, spoken in different parts the country, namely Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Meitei, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. The English is one of the official languages of Union of India.

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