Chapter 54: MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
OUR Constitution views the Union and the States as juristic persons,
capable of owning and acquiring property, making contracts, carrying on trade or business, brtnging and defending legal actions, just as private persons,
subject to modifications specified in the Constitution Itself.
The Union and a State can acquire property in several way
Succession : Broadly speaking, the property, assets, rights and liabilities
thai belonged to the Dominion of India or a Governor's Province or an
Indian State at the commencement of the Constitution devolved by virtue of
the Constitution, on the Union or the corresponding State under the
Bona Vacantia : Any property in the territory of India which, if this
Constitution had not come into operation, would have accrued to His
Majesty or as the case may be, to the Ruler of an Indian State by escheat or
lapse, or as bona vacantia for want of a rightful owner, shall, if it is property
situate in a State, vest in such State, and shall in any other case, vest in the
Union [Art. 296]. Thus, the disputed property of a person dying a civil death
(not heard of for more than seven years) without leaving any heir, would
vest in the Gram Sabha and should be recorded in its name even if no
objection has been filed by it
Things underlying the Ocean. All lands, minerals and other things of
value underlying the ocean within the territorial waters of India shall vest
only in the Union
Compulsory Acquisition by Law: Both the Union and
State Legislatures shall be competent to compulsorily acquire Or requisition
property by making law. The constitutional obligation to pay compensation has been abolished,
by the omission of Art. 31(2) by the 44th Amendment Act, 1978.
Acquisition under Executive Power : The Government of India or a
State may make contracts and acquire property, say by purchase or
exchange, just as a private individual. in exercise of their respective powers,
and for the purposes of their respective Governments and the decision of the government in granting contracts/licences to private
bodies/companies can be questioned only the grounds of bad faith, based
on irrational or irrelevant considerations, non-compliance with the
prescribed procedure or violation of any constitutional or statutory
provision. But for compulsorily taking a person's property a law will be
required to authorise It
The Union or a State Government is competent to carry on any trade
or business and make contracts for that purpose, in exercise of its executive power. Such business shall, however, be subject to
regulation by the competent Legislature. That is to
say. if the Union Government takes up a business
relating to a subject (say, agriculture) which is included in the State List, the
business will be subject to the legislative jurisdiction of the State Legislature
The Union or a State, while legislating with respect to a trade or
business carried on by Itself, is immune from a constitutional limitation to
which it would have been otherwise subject.
If an ordinary law excludes a
citizen from carrying on a particular business, wholly or partially, the
reasonableness of such law has to be tested under Art. 19(6).
Thus, if the State
creates a monopoly in favour of a private trade without any reasonable
justification, such law is liable to be held unconstitutional by the Courts.
if a law creates a monopoly in favour of the State itself as a trader, whether
to the partial or complete exclusion of citizens, the reasonableness of such
law cannot be questioned by the Courts [Exception (ii) to Aft. 19(6)].
In short, it is competent for the Union or a State not only to enter into a
trade but also to create a monopoly in its own favour in respect of such
This is what is popularly known as the 'nationalisation' of a trade.
As stated already, both the Union and State Governments have the power to enter into contracts like private individuals,
Government or in relation to the respective spheres of their executive power.
But this contractual power of the Government
is subject to some special formalities required by the
Constitution, in addition to those laid down by the Law of Contract which
governs any contract made in India
The reason for imposing these special conditions is that contracts by
Government raise some problems which do not or cannot possibly arise in
the case of contracts entered into by private persons.
Thus, there should be
a definite procedure according to which contracts must be made by its
agents, in order to bind the Government; otherwise public funds may be
depleted by clandestine contracts made by any and every public servant,
The formalities for contracts made in the exercise of the executive power of
the Union or of a State, as laid down in Art. 299, are that the contract
must be executed by a person duly authorised by the President or
Governor, as the case may be;
(b) must be executed by such person 'on behalf of the President or
Governor, as the case may be:
(c) must be 'expressed to be made by' the President or Governor, as
the case may be.
If any of these conditions are not complied with, the contract is not
binding on or enforceable against the Govemment
Though a suit may lie
against the officer who made the contract, in his personal capacity.
The right of the Government to sue and its liability to be sued, like a private individual in the
ordinary Courts, is also subject to certain special
Article 300(1) of the Constitution says-
"The Government of India may sue or be sued by the name or the Union of India
and the Government of the State may sue or be sued by the name of the State and
may subject to any provisions which may be made by Act of Parliament or of the
Legislature of such State enacted by virtue of powers conferred by this
Constitution, sue or be sued in relation to their respective affairs In the like cases as
the Dominion of India and the corresponding Provinces or the corresponding
Indian States might have sued or been sued If this Constitution had not been
This Article, however, does not give rise to any cause of action, but
merely says that the State can sue or be sued, as a juristic personality, in
matters where a suit would lie against the Government had not the
Constitution been enacted, subject to legislation by the appropriate
No such legislation has, however, been undertaken so far. For
the substantive law as to the ability of the State, therefore, we have to refer
to the law as it stood before the commencement of the Constitution.
1. Right to Sue.
So far as the right to sue is concerned, the Government of India may
sue by the name of the 'Union of India', while a State may sue by the name
of that State.
Either Government may sue not only a
private person but also another Government.
Thus, the Union may bring a
suit against one or more States; while a State may sue another State or the
Union [Art. 131].
It Is to be noted that when the suit is against a private
individual, the suit will have to be instituted in the Court of the lowest
jurisdicuon, according to the law of procedure;
but in the case of a suit
between two Governments, it must be instituted in the highest tribunal,
namely, the Supreme Court, which has exclusive original jurisdiction over
such federal litigation.
II. Liability to he Sued.
In this manner, a distinction is to be made between contractual liability
and the liability for torts or civil wrongs. because such distinction has been
observed In India since the days of the East India Company, up to the
commencement of the Constitution, and that position is maintained by
Art. 300 of the Constitution, subject to legislation by Parliament.
(a) Contract. In India, direct suit had been allowed against the East
India Company, the Secretary of State or the existing Governments in
matters of contract, instead of a petition of right by which a British subject
sought relief from the Crown, as a matter of grace.
The Government of
India Acts expressly empowered the Government to enter into contracts
with private individuals and the corresponding provision in the Constitution
in Art 299(1) maintains that position.
Subject to the formalities prescribed by Art 299 and to statutory
conditions limits, the contractual liability of the State, under our
Constitution, is the same as that of an individual under the ordinary law of
(b) Torts. The liability of the State under the existing law, for
actionable wrongs committed by its servants, cannot be so simply stated as
in the case of contracts.
The state of the law is unnecessarily complicated by
reason of its being founded on the position of the British Crown under the
Common Law and of the East India Company upon its supposed
representation of the sovereignty of the Crown, both of which have become
archaic, owing to the changes in history and law.
Even in England, the Common Law maxim that the 'King can do no
wrong' has been superseded by the Crown Proceedings Act, 1947.
Nevertheless. in the absence of any such corresponding legislation, Courts in
India have no alternative than to follow the existing case-law which is
founded on the old English theory of Immunity of the State, founded on the
maxim 'King can do no wrong'.
The existing law in India, thus, draws a distinction between the
sovereign and non-sovereign functions of the Government and holds that
Government cannot be sued for torts committed by the Government or its
officers in the exercise of its 'sovereign' functions.
Thus, it has been held-
(A) No action lies against the Government for injury done to an
individual in the course of exercise of the sovereign juncfions to the
Government, such as the following;
(i) Commandeering goods during war;
(ii) making or repairing a
(iii) administration of justice;
(iv) improper arrest.
or trespass by Police officers;
(v) wrongs committed by officers in the
performance of duties imposed upon them by the Legislature, unless, of
course, the statute itself prescribes the limits or conditions under which the
executive acts are to be performed; or the wrongful act was expressly
authorised or ratified by the State;
(vi) loss of movables from Government
custody owing to negligence of officers;
(vil) payment of money in custody
of Government to a person other than the rightful owner, owing to
negligence of an officer in the exercise of statutory duty, where Government
does not derive any benefit from such transaction, e.g., by a Treasury Officer
paying money to a wrong person on a forged cheque owing to negligence in
performing his statutory duty to compare the Signature.
But gradually the ratio of list of sovereign
functions is being limited.
The Supreme court has adopted a pro-people approach. In Rudul Shah in a writ petition the Court ordered compensation
to be paid for deprivation of liberty. The Supreme Court
observed that no civilised system can permit an executive to play with the
people of a country and claim to be sovereign.
To place the State above the
law is unjust and unfair to the citizen.
In the modern sense the distinction
between sovereign and non-sovereign functions does not exist.
The immunity is available to those rare and limited cases where the statutory
authority acts as a delegate of such functions for which it cannot be sued in a
Court of law.
The theory of sovereign power, propounded in Kasturi Lal case has
yielded to new theories and is no Longer available in a welfare state in which
functions of the government are manifold, all of which cannot be said to be
the activities relating to exercise of sovereign powers.
Running of a railway is
a commercial activity. Establishing the Yatri Niwas at various railway stations
to provide lodging and boarding factlities to the passengers on payment of
charges is a part of commercial activity of the Union of India which cannot
be equated with the exercise of sovereign power.
The employees deputed to
run the Railways and to manage the establishment, including the railway
stations and the Yatri Niwas, are essential components of the government
machinery carrying on commercial activity.
If any of such employees
commits an act of tort. the Union Government can be held liable in
damages to the person wronged by those employees.
efficacy of Kasturi Lal case as a binding precedent bas been eroded. Hence.
the Supreme Court upheld the award against the Railways of a
compensation of Rs. ten lakbs by the High Court to a foreign passenger,
victim of gang-rape committed by the" railway employees in a room of a
Railway Yatri Niwas
Likewise the persons employed in government hospitals cannot claim
sovereign immunity and the government will be liable for their tortious
(B) On the other hand, a suit lies against the Government for wrongs
done by public servants in the course of transactions which a trading
company or a private person could engage in such as the following:
(I) Injury due to the negligence of servants of the Government
employed in a dockyard or a railway;
(il) trespass upon or damage done to
private property in the course of a dispine as to right to land between
Government and the private owner, even though committed in the course of
a colourable exercise of statutory powers;
(ill) the State is liable to be sued
for restitution of the profits unlawfully made, just. as a private owner, e.g.•
where Government retains property or moneys unlawfully seized by its
a sum lies against the Government for its recovery, with interest;
defamation contained in a resolution issued by Government;
caused by a Government vehicle while such vehicle was not being engaged
in carrying out any sovereign function, or engaged in famine relief work.
Though the State itself is immune from liability in certain cases owing to historical reasons, our Constitution
does not grant any immunity to a public servant for
his official acts which are unlawful under the ordinary law of the land.
The only exception to this rule is a limited immunity
granted to the heads of State, namely, the President and a Governor.
for their political and personal acts, while in office
1. Official Acts. The immunity given for official acts of the President or
the Governor is absolute but it is limited only to the President and the Governor personally, and no other
person can shield himself from legal liability on the
plea that it was done under orders or the President or
The President or a Governor is Immune from legal action and cannot
be sued in a Court, whether during office or thereafter, for any act done or
purported to be done by them or for any contract made in
exercise of their powers and duties as laid down by the Constitution or by
any law made thereunder [Art. 361(1)1.
Though the President is liable to be
impeached and the Governors may be dismissed by the
President for any unconstitutional act done in exercise of their official
powers, no action lies in the Courts.
It follows from the rule of personal immunity that no Court can compel
the President or the Governor to exercise any power or to perform any duty
nor can a Court compel him to forbear exercising his power or performing
He is not amenable to the writs or directions issued by any Court
The remedy to an individual for wrongful official acts of the President
or a Governor is twofold-
(i) To bring appropriate proceedings against the respective Government
itself, where such proceedings lie
(il) To bring an action against the public servant, individually, who has
executed the wrongful order of the President or Governor, and must,
therefore. answer to the aggrieved individual, under the ordinary law of
crimes or civil wrongs, subject to limitations.
In this connection, it should be noted that while the Constitution grants
personal immunity to the President or a Governor for official acts, no such immunity is granted to their
But by virtue of the peculiar position of
Ministers as regards official acts of the President or the Governor, as the case
may be, it is not possible to make a Minister liable in a court of law, for any
official act done in the name of the President or Governor.
As pointed out
earlier, the position in this respect in India differs from that in the United
In England, every official act of the Crown must be countersigned
by a Minister who Is responsible to the law and the Courts for that act But
though the principle of ministerial responsibility has been adopted in our
Constitution, both at the Centre and in the States, the principle of legal
responsibility has not been introduced In the English sense.
There is no
requirement that the acts of the President or of the Governor must be
countersigned by a Minister.
Further, the Courts are precluded from
enquiring as to what advice was tendered by the Ministers to the President
or the Governor.
It is clear, therefore, that the Ministers shall not be liable for official acts done on their advice. But there is no immunity for offences
committed in their personal capacity.
Personal Acts. The immunity of the President or a Governor for personal acts committed by him during the
term of his office is limited to the duration of such
(a) As regards crimes, no proceedings can be brought against them or
continued while they are in office: but there is nothing to prevent such
proceedings after their office is terminated by expiry of term, dismissal or
(b) As regards civil proceedings, there is no such immunity, but the
Constitution imposes a procedural condition:
Civil proceedings may be brought against the President or a Governor,
in respect of their personal acts, but only if two months' notice in writing has
been delivered to the President or Governor.
As stated before, the Constitution makes no distinction in favour of
Government servants as to their personal liability for any unlawful act done
by them whether in their official or personal capacity.
There is only one provision in the Constitution relating to the liability of public servants: but the general law imposes certain
conditions as regards their liability for official acts, In
view of their peculiar position. These may be analysed as follows:
(i) If a contract made by a Government servant in his official
capacity complies with the formalities laid down in Art. 299, It is the
Government concerned which will be liable in respect of the contract and
not the officer who executed the contract (Art. 299(2)].
If, however, the contract is not made in term of Art. 299(2), the officer
who executed It would be personally liable under it, even though he may not
have derived any personal benefit
(ii) As stated earlier, in India, the Government is not liable to
answer In damages for its 'sovereign' acts. In such cases, the officer through
whom such act is done Is also immune.
In other cases, action will lie against the Government as well as the
officer personally, unless-
(a) the act has been done, bona fide, in the performance of duties
imposed by a statute;
(b) he Is a judicial officer, within the meaning of the Judicial Officers'
Protection Act, 1850. This Act gives absolute immunity from a civil
proceeding to a judicial officer for acts done in the discharge of his official
But any civil action. whether in contract or in torts, against a public
officer "in respect of any act purported to be done by such public officer in
his official capacity", Is subject to the procedural limitations in
the Code of Civil Procedure which include a two months' notice as a
condition precedent to a suit
The criminal liability of a public servant is the same as that
of an ordinary citizen except that-
(a) There is no liability for Judicial acts for acts done in pursuance
of judicial orders
(b) Officers, other than judicial, are also immune for any act which
they, by reason of some mistake of law or fact, in good faith, believed
themselves to be bound by law to do it
(c) Where a public servant who is not removable from his office save
by or with the sanction of the Central or State Government is accused of an
offence, committed by him while acting or purporting to act in the discharge
of his official duty, no Court can take cognizance of such offence without the
previous sanction of the Central Government or the State Government, as
the case may be
(iv) For acts done for the maintenance or restoration of order in an
area where martial law was in force, Parliament may exempt the officers
concerned from liability by validating such acts by making an Act of
Civil Service Regulations
Article 311 says that the all civil servants
occupy posts during the
pleasure of the president. But some restrictions are there
on this to safeguard
against arbitrary dismissal:
No civil servant
dismissed or removed by an authority subordinate to the
one that appointed him.
A servant can’t
except by inquiry where he is informed of the charges and
opportunity to defend himself.
The above safeguards aren’t applicable to
people holding defence
posts or military service.
The second safeguard is not applicable
when the civil servant is
convicted of an offence, the disciplinary authority states
in writing reasons
that it’s not practical to hold such an inquiry or
president or governor feel
that in interest of security of state such an inquiry
Under article 323A the parliament can
tribunal for speedy justice to aggrieved civil servants.
administrative tribunal [CAT] and state administrative
tribunals [SAT] have
been formed under this.
Central Administrative Tribunal
CAT has 1 chairman and 65 members all have
rank of HC judges and are
appointed by the president. It has 17 benches 15 of which
operate from high
courts. Term of chairman is 5 yrs or till age of 65 and
members if 5 yrs or
till age of 62 whichever is earlier. It has original
recruitment and all service matters of public servants.
Appeals are heard by
HC. It is guided by principles of natural justice.
State Administrative tribunals
SAT and Joint administrative tribunals can be
parliament after states make a request. The president
appoints chairman and
members after consulting the governor or governors of
Tribunals for other matters:
Article 323B allows parliament and state
legislatures to establish
tribunals for other matters too. HC and SC have appellate
powers over these.
Tribunals under article 323A don’t have a hierarchy but
under 323B can be in a
Liabilities of civil servants:
The Parliament as well as the state
legislatures is empowered to
make laws for the compulsory acquisition of private
property by the governments.
Compensation has to be paid only:
(a) When the government acquires the property
of a minority
educational institution; and
(b) When the government acquires the land
held by a person under his
personal cultivation and the land is within the statutory
The government (Union or states) in India can
be sued for torts
(civil wrongs) committed by its officials only in the
exercise of its
non-sovereign functions but not in the sovereign
functions. Judicial officers
enjoy legal liability for official acts.
Civil servants are not personally liable for
official acts but the
government is. However if the contract isn’t made as per
directions given in
the constitution then the civil servant is liable
Civil proceedings can be instituted
against them for anything done
in their official capacity after giving a two months’
Criminal proceedings can be instituted
against them for acts done in their official capacity,
with the prior
permission of the president or the governor, where
They aren’t immune from civil or criminal
liability for personal
Provisions for SC / ST / OBC / Anglo Indian
Constitution leaves to the President the
power to specify as to what
castes or tribes in each state and union territory are to
be treated as the SCs
and STs. Thus, the lists of the SCs or STs vary from state
to state and union
territory to union territory.
In case of the states, the President issues
the notification after
consulting the governor of the state concerned. But, any
inclusion or exclusion
of any caste or tribe from Presidential notification can
be done only by the
Financial powers of the State:
The Constitution has placed the following
restrictions on the taxing
powers of the states:
(i) A state can impose taxes on professions.
But, the total amount
of such taxes on a person should not exceed Rs. 2,500 per
(ii) A state legislature can impose taxes on
the sale or purchase of
goods (other than newspapers) within the state only except
import – export duty
and interstate trade duty or on goods declared by
Parliament to be of special
importance in inter-state trade and commerce.
(iii) A state legislature cant impose tax on
the consumption or sale
of electricity except that consumed by the Centre or sold
to the Centre; or
(iv) A state legislature can impose a tax in
respect of any water or
electricity traded by authority established by Parliament
for regulating or
developing any inter-state river or river valley but such
a law must receive president’s
TAX REVENUE DISTRIBUTION
A. Taxes Levied by the Centre but
Collected and Appropriated by the
States (Article 268) namely
(i) Stamp duties on bills of exchange,
cheques, promissory notes,
policies of insurance, transfer of shares and others.
(ii) Excise duties on medicinal and toilet
alcohol and narcotics.
The proceeds of these duties are fully
assigned to that state.
B. Service Tax Levied by the Centre but
Collected and Appropriated
by the Centre and the States (Article 268-A) is divided
amongst centre and state as per
C. Taxes Levied and Collected by the Centre
but Assigned to the
States (Article 269) namely
(i)Taxes on the sale or purchase of goods
(other than newspapers) in
the course of inter-state Trade or commerce.
(ii) Taxes on the consignment of goods in the
course of inter-state
trade or commerce.
E. Surcharge on Certain Taxes and Duties
for Purposes of the Centre
(Article 271) goes fully to centre.
F. Taxes Levied and Collected and Retained
by the States are taxes
on matters in state list.
Distribution of Non-tax
Grants-in-Aid to the States are of
grants and Discretionary grants:
- Statutory Grants
are given to the states on the recommendation of
the Finance Commission.
- Discretionary Grants
are made to the states on the recommendations
of the Planning Commission. These are more than
- Other Grants /
temporary grants are made to the states on
recommendation of the Finance Commission.
Law Commission of India
It is an adhoc advisory body that suggest amendments to old laws. However such suggestions are non binding on the government.
Members are experts chosen by the government. Tenure is 3 years. Chairman and 4 members are present.
Official Languages Commission
Appoint such a commission after 5 years from the date of commencement of the Constitution and then after every 10 years - Article 344.
This committee makes non binding recommendations to the Parliament for use of Hindi as the official alnguage.
Convention is to have Home minister as the chairman.
30 members with 20 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha.
LANGUAGES offered a special problem to the makers of the
Constitution simply because of the plurality of languages used by the vast
The makers of the Constitution had, therefore, to select some of these
languages as the recognised medium of official communication
In order to
save the country from a hopeless confusion.
Fortunately for them, the number of people speaking
each of these 1,652 languages was not anything like
proportionate and some 22 languages (included in the 8th Schedule of the
Constitution, see Table XX) could easily be picked up as the major
languages of India, used by 91 per cent of the total population of the
country, and out of them, Hindi, Including its variants Urdu and
Hindustanl, could claim 46 per cent
Hindi Devanagari script was
accordingly prescribed as the official language of the Union (subject to the
continuance of English for the same purpose for the limited period of 15
For the development of the Hindi language as a medium of
expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India, the
assimilation of the expressions used in the other languages specified in the
Eighth Schedule was recommended [ArL 351].
But though one language was thus prescribed for the official purposes
of the Union, and the makers of the Constitution sought to afford relief to
regional linguistic groups by allowing the respective State Legislatures and the President to recognise some language or
languages other than Hindi as the languages for intra-State official transac-
tions or any of them.
These provisions thus recognise the right of the majo-
rity of the State Legislature or a substantial section of the population of a
State to have the language spoken by them to be recognised for official
purposes within the State.
In the result, the provisions of the Constitution relating to Official
Language have come to be somewhat complicated
The Official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagri script
But, 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
after the expiry of the above period of 15 years,
Parliament may by law provide for the use of-
(a) The English language, or
(b) The Devanagri form of numerals, for such purposes as may be
specified in the law
In short, English would continue to be the official language of the
Union side by side with Hindi, until 1965, and thereafter the use of English
for any purpose will depend on Parliamentary legislation.
made this law by enacting the Official Languages Act. 1963, which will be
In making its recommendations, the Commission shall have due regard
to the industrial, cultural and scientific advancement of India and the just
claims and interests of persons belonging to the non-Hindi speaking areas in
regard to Public Services.
The recommendations of the Commission will be examined by a Joint
Parliamenrary Committee consisting of thirty members of whom twenty shall
be elected from the Lok Sabha and ten from the Rajya Sabha in accordance
with the system of proportional representation by single transferable vote.
The Committee will examine the recommendations of the Commission and
report their opinion to the President
The OffiCial Language Commission was, accordingly appointed with Sri B.G. Kher as Chairman, and It submitted its Report In 1956
which was presented to First Parliament in 1957 and examined by a joint
Offici~ .Language Parliamentary Committee. The recommendations of
The Parliamentary Committee upon a consideration of the Report of the Official Language Commission were as follows
The Constitution contains an integrated scheme of official language
and its approach to the question is flexible and admits of appropriate
adjustment being made within the framework of the scheme.
(b) Different regional languages are rapidly replacing English as a
medium of instruction and of official work in the States. The use of an
Indian language for the purposes of the Union has thus become a matter of
practical necessity, but there should be no rigid limit. It
should be a natural transition over a period of time effected smoothly and
with the minimum of inconvenience.
(c) English should be the principal official language and Hindi the
subsidiary official language till 1965. After 1965, when Hindi becomes the
principal official language of Union, English should continue as the subsidiary
(d) No restriction should be imposed for the present on the use of
English for any of the purposes of the Union and provision should be made for continued use of English even after
1965 for purposes to be specified by Parliament by law as long as may be
(e) Considerable importance attaches to the provision in Art. 351 that
Hindi should be so developed that it may serve as a medium of expression
for all elements of the composite culture of India, and every encouragement
should be given to the use of easy and simple diction.
In pursuance of the above recommendations of the Parliamentary
Committee the President issued an Order
containing directions by way of
implementing the above recommendations.
direction was as regards the evolution of Hindi terminology for scientific,
administrative and legal literature and the translation of English literature on
administrative and procedural matters into Hindi.
For the evolution of such
terminology, the Official Language Commission recommended the
constitution of two Standing Commissions.
(A) For the development of legal
terminology and preparation of authoritative texts of Central Acts in Hindi
and other languages a Commission [known as the Official Language Legislative Commission] was constituted In 1961.
It was abolished in 1976
and its functions have been assigned to the Legislative Department of the
Government of India.
(B) The other Commission [known as the
Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology] is working under the
Ministry of Human Resources.
Of the other recommendations of the Official Language Commission,
the following, inter alia, were adopted in the President's Order
(i) English shall continue to be the medium of examination for the
recruitment through the Union Public Service Commission but, after some
time, Hindi may be admitted as an alternative medium, both Hindi and
English being available as the media at the option of the candidate
Parliamentary legislation may continue to be in English but an
authorised translation should be provided In Hindi. For this purpose," the
Ministry of Law has been directed to provide for such translation and also to
initiate legislation to provide for an authorised Hindi translatton of the text
of Acts passed by Parliament.
[iii) Where the original text of Bills introduced or Acts passed by a
State Legislature is in a language other than Hindi, a Hindi translation may
be published with it besides an English translation as provided in C1. (3) of
(iv) When the time comes for the change-over, Hindi shall be the
language of the Supreme Court.
(v) Similarly, when the time for change-over comes, Hindi shall
ordinarily be the language of Judgments, decrees or orders of Courts, in all
regions; but by undertaking necessary legislation, the use of a regional
official language may' be made optional instead of Hindi, with the previous
consent of the President.
The Constitution further provides that the language for the time being
authorised for use in the Union for official purposes (ie., English) shall be
the official language of communication between one
State and another State and between a State and the
If, however, two or more States agree that the
Hindi language should be the official language for communication between such
States, that language may be used for such commurucanon Instead of Englisb
The Legislature of a State may by law adopt anyone or more of the
languages in use in the State or Hindi as the language to be used for all
or any of the official purposes of that State
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.
There is also a provision for the recognition of any other language for
the official purposes of a State or any part thereof, upon a substantial
popular demand for it being made to the President [Art. 347].
Until Parliament by law otherwise provides
all proceedings in the Supreme Court and in every High Court, for Acts, Bills, etc.
(b) the authoritative texts
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
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
of all orders, rules, regulations and bye-laws issued under this
Constitution or under any law made by Parliament or the
Legislature of a State,
shall be in the English language.
A State Legislature may, however, prescribe the use of any language other
than English for Bills and Acts passed by itself, or subordinate legislation made
Similarly, the Governor of a State may, with the previous consent of
the President, authorise the use of Hindi or an other language used for official
purposes of the State, in proceedings in the Court of the State, but not
in judgments, decrees or orders (which must continue to be in English until
Parliament by law otherwise provides
The foregoing provisions of the Constitution are now to be read subject to
the modifications made by the Official Languages Act, 1963 and the
Authorised Translations (central Laws) Act, 1973 and the new Art. 394A,
inserted in the Constitution In 1987.
In 1973, Parliament enacted the Authorised Translations (Central
Authorised Laws) Act, 1973, to provide that when a Central Law
is translated into a regional language and published in the Official Gazette, under
the authority of the President, such translation shall be
deemed to be the authorised translation thereof in
The Draft Constitution as well as the Constitution adopted by the
Art. 394A. Constituent Assembly on the 26th November, 1949,
was in the English language.
After it was officially
translated into Hindi, Art. 394:A was inserted into the Constitution, by the
58th Amendment Act, 1987, in order to give it effective authority.
pursuance of this Article, the President published in the Gazette of India, the
Hindi text which, according to CL (2) of Art 394A, shall be construed to
have the same meaning as the Original text in the English language, and in
case of any difficulty arising in this matter, the President shall direct the
Hindi text to be suitably revised.
The provisions of the Official Languages Act (as amended) are
Continuance of English Language for Official Purposes of the Union and
Notwithstanding the expiration
the period of fifteen years from the commencement
of the Constitution, the English Language may, as from
the appointed day, continue to be used, in addition to Hindi
(a) for all the official purposes of the Union for which it was being used
immediately before that day; and
(b) for the transaction of business in Parliament
Authorised Hindi Translation of Central Acts, etc.
A translation in
Hindi published under the authority of the President in the Official Gazette
on an after the appointed day, (a) of any Central Act or of any Ordinance promulgated by the
(b) of any order. regulation or bye-law issued under the Constitution or
under any Central Act,
shall be deemed to be authoritative text thereof in Hindi.
(2) As from the appointed day the authoritative text In the English
language of all Bills to be introduced or amendments thereto to be moved in
either House of Parliament shall be accompanied by a translation of the
same in Hindi authorised in such manner as may be prescribed by rules
made under this Act
Authorised Hindi Translation of State Acts in Certain Cases Where
the Legislature of a State has prescribed any language other than Hindi for
use in Acts passed by the Legislature of the State or in Ordinances
promulgated by the Governor of the State
A translation of the same in
Hindi, in addition to a translation thereof in the English language as
required by Cl. (3) of Art. 348 of the Constitution, may be published on or
after the appointed day under the authority of the Governor of the State in
the Official Gazette of that State and in such a case, the translation In Hindi
of any such Act or Ordinance shall be deemed to be the authoritative text
thereof in the Hindi language .
Optional Use of Hindi or other Official Language in Judgments, etc.,
of High Courts.
As from the appointed day or any day thereafter, the
Governor of a State may with the previous consent of the President,
authorise the use of Hindi or the official language of the State, in addition to
the English language, for the purposes of any judgment, decree or order
passed or made by the High Court for that State
And where any judgment,
decree or order Is passed or made in any such language (other than the
English language), it shall be accompanied by a translation of the same in
the English language issued under the authority of the High Court.
Inter-State Communications. (a) English shall be used for purposes of
communication between the Union and a State which has not adopted Hindi
as its official language.
(b) Where Hindi is used for purposes of
communication between one State and another whlch has not adopLed Hindi
as its official language, such communication in Hindi shall be accompanied
by an English translation thereof.
The Constitution lays down certain special directives in respect of not
only the offlctal language but also the other languages
in use in the different parts of the country.
In order to protect the interests of the linguistic minorities.
As regards the official language-the directive is, for the
promotion and development of the Hindi language so that It may serve as a
medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India
And this is laid down as a duty of the Union; and the Union is further
directed to secure the enrichment of Hindi without
interfering with its genius, the style and expressions, used in the
Hindustani and other languages (specified in the Eighth Schedule) and by giving primary importance to Sanskrit in this respect
The Government of India has already
implemented this directive by taking a number of steps for the
popularisation of Hindi amongst the non-Hindi speaking people, particularly
its own employees.
But not enough has been done for the promotion of
Sanskrit so as "to secure the enrichment of Hindi by drawing on Sanskrit',
which the State is enjoined to do, by Art. 351.
The Supreme Court has clearly spelt out that in view of the importance of
Sanskrit for nurturing our cultural heritage it is necessary to include it as an
elective subject at the secondary school level
On the other hand, an Urdu Academy has been set up in West Bengal,
at Government expense, on October 27, 1979.
There cannot be any
objection from any enlightened man to any effort for the promotion of any
Indian language, at least any of those specified in the 8th Schedule.
there Is a constitutional aspect which does not appear to have been duly
considered by the authorities.
A newspaper reports
one of objectives of this Academy is to translate religious scriptures like the Quran, at the
expense of the Academy.
The resources of the Academy be the public
revenues, raised by taxation, any appropriation of such resources for the
promotion or maintenance of any 'particular religion' shall be hit by Art. 27.
The reason behind Art. 27 is that India is a 'secular State' where all religions
are on a status of equality so far as the State is concerned.
If the State really wants to promote the languages at Government
expenses, the only constitutional way would be to set up an Academy of
languages, embracing all the languages in the 8th Schedule, so that Sanskrit,
Urdu, Bengali, etc., would have an equal treatment, and all religious
activities should be excluded from the programme of such an Academy,
because there being numerous religions in India, there is a likelihood of
some religion being excluded in the venture, leadlng to a violation of
As regards research into the Sanskrit language for enriching the
vocabulary of Hindi [Art. 351], a branch should be opened specifically for
this purpose and, if any activities are already being undertaken, they should
be speeded up and the glossaries produced should be available to the
people at a low cost.
The extension of such an organisation Itself will
provide employment to Sanskrit scholars and thus provide incentive to the
otherwise unprofitable study of Sanskrit.
For the protection of the other languages in use, the following
directives are provided-
(i) For the submission of representation for the redress of any grievance
to any officer or authority of the Union or a State the petitioner is authorised
to use any of the languages used in the Union or in the State as the case
may be. In either words, a representation cannot be rejected on the
ground that it is not in Hindi.
Every State and other local authority within a State is directed to
provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother tongue at the preliminary
stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups and
the President Is authorised to issue such directions to any State as he may
consider necessary for the securing of such facilities
(ill) A Special Officer for linguistic minorities shall be appointed by the
President to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided by the
Constitution for linguistic minorities and to report to the President upon
It shall be the duty of the President to cause all such reports to
be laid before each House of Parliament and also to be sent to the
Government of the State concerned
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