Understanding Part XVII of the Indian Constitution: Official Language

Part XVII of the Indian Constitution deals with the official language of the Union. It outlines the language policy of the Indian government and the role of Hindi and English as official languages. Let’s take a closer look at the provisions of Part XVII.

Article 343 establishes Hindi in Devanagari script as the official language of the Union. However, Article 343(3) states that the use of English language for official purposes of the Union will continue until Parliament provides otherwise. In other words, both Hindi and English are the official languages of the Union.

Article 345 allows for the adoption of any one or more languages, in addition to Hindi and English, as the official language(s) of a state or states. This is aimed at promoting and preserving the languages of various regions and communities within India.

Article 346 provides for the use of the English language in the proceedings of the High Courts of the states. Similarly, Article 347 allows for the use of any language spoken by a substantial population in a state for official purposes of that state.

Article 348 lays down the provisions for the language to be used in the Supreme Court of India and in all proceedings before any court in the country. It states that the language to be used shall be English, but Parliament may by law provide for the use of the Hindi language in addition to English.

Part XVII also contains provisions for the development and enrichment of Hindi language, as well as the promotion of the use of regional languages in various fields. The Constitution also provides for the establishment of a Commission by the President to investigate the issues related to the official language.

In conclusion, Part XVII of the Indian Constitution lays down a comprehensive language policy that seeks to promote the use of Hindi and English as well as regional languages. It recognizes the importance of preserving the linguistic diversity of India while also ensuring effective communication across the country.

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