General Studies IIConstitution

Eighth schedule


Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has said his government would revive its long-pending demand for inclusion of Bhojpuri in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, so that it can be accorded the status of an official language.

  • The state cabinet had sent a proposal to the Centre in this regard in 2017.

About Eight Schedule:

  • It is a list of official languages recognised by the Constitution.
  • The Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution contains a list of 22 scheduled languages viz. Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Sindhi (added by 21st Amendment Act, 1967), Konkani, Manipuri, Nepali (added by 71st Amendment Act, 1992), Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, Santal (added by 92nd Amendment 2003).
  • The list had originally 14 languages only but subsequently through amendments 8 new languages were added.

Language of the Union

  • Official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari
  • English language shall continue to be used for all the official purposes of the Union.
  • Even after fifteen years, the Parliament may provide for the continued use of English language for the specified purposes
  • President should appoint a commission to make recommendations representing the different languages specified in the Eighth Schedule

Regional Language

  • 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
  • Official Languages Act (1963)lays down that English should be used for purposes of communication between the Union and the non-Hindi states
  • MeghalayaArunachal Pradesh and Nagaland have adopted English
  • President of India (on a demand being made) is satisfied that a substantial proportion of the population of a state desires the use of any language spoken by them to be recognised by that state, then he may direct that such language shall also be officially recognised in that state

Language of the Judiciary and Text of law

  • Until Parliament provides otherwise, the following are to be in the English language only:
  • All proceedings in the Supreme Court and in every high court.
  • The Governor of a state, with the previous consent of the president, can authorise the use of Hindi or any other official language of the state, in the proceedings in the high court of the state, but not with respect to the judgements, decrees and orders passed by it.
  • The act also enables the Governor of a state, with the previous consent of the President, to authorise the use of Hindi or any other official language of the state for judgements, decrees and orders passed by the high court of the state but they should be accompanied by an English translation.
  • However, the Parliament has not made any provision for the use of Hindi in the Supreme Court. Hence, the Supreme Court hears only those who petition or appeal in English.
  • The authoritative texts of all bills, acts, ordinances, orders, rules, regulations and bye laws at the Central and state levels

Special Directives

Protection of Linguistic Minorities

  • Every aggrieved person has the right to submit a representation in any of the languages used in the Union or in the state, and those representations cannot be rejected on the ground that it is not in the official language.
  • Every state and a local authority in the state should provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups
  • The President should appoint a special officer for linguistic minorities to investigate all matters relating to the constitutional safeguards for linguistic minorities and to report to him.

Committee on Official Language

  • The President shall, at the expiration of five years from the commencement of this Constitution and thereafter at the expiration of ten years from such commencement, by order constitute a Commission which shall consist of a Chairman and such other members representing the different languages specified in the Eighth Schedule as the President may appoint, and the order shall define the procedure to be followed by the Commission.
  • It shall be the duty of the Commission to make recommendations to the President as to –
    • The progressive use of the Hindi language for the official purposes of the Union;
    • Restrictions on the use of the English language for all or any of the official purposes of the Union;
    • The language to be used for all or any of the purposes mentioned in article 348;
    • The form of numerals to be used for any one or more specified purposes of the Union;
    • Any other matter referred to the Commission by the President as regards the official language of the Union and the language for communication between the Union and a State or between one State and another and their use.

Articles related to 8th Schedule of Indian Constitution

There are a total of 12 Schedules in the Indian Constitution and each one is important. The Constitutional provisions relating to the 8th Schedule are in articles 344(1) and 351 of the Indian Constitution:

8th Schedule of Indian Constitution and the Articles related to it:

Article 344Committee and Commission of Parliament on official language
Article 344(1)Establishment of a Commission by the President on the expiration of 5 years from the commencement of the Constitution and afterwards at the expiration of 10 years from such commencement It should comprise of a Chairman and other members representing the various languages specified in the 8th Schedule to make recommendations to the President for the dynamic use of Hindi for official purposes of the Government of India.
Article 351The duty of the Union to encourage the spread of the Hindi language to advance it so that it may serve as a medium of communication for all the components of the composite culture of India and to safeguard its enhancement by integrating without interfering with its genius, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the 8th Schedule, and by drawing, anywhere essential or required, for its terminology, mainly, on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages.

Classical Languages

  • Currently, six languages enjoy the ‘Classical’ status: Tamil (declared in 2004), Sanskrit (2005), Kannada (2008), Telugu (2008), Malayalam (2013), and Odia (2014).
  • All the Classical Languages are listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
  • The guidelines for declaring a language as ‘Classical’ are:
    • High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years.
    • A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers.
    • The literary tradition is original and not borrowed from another speech community.
    • The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.

List of languages in the Eighth Schedule:

Go through the list of Languages along with their year of recognition and the state where is spoken most frequently.

LanguageYear of RecognitionStates in which that Language is Predominantly Spoken
Bengali1950West Bengal
Hindi1950North India
Kashmiri1950Jammu & Kashmir
Tamil1950Tamil Nadu
Telugu1950Andhra Pradesh, Telangana
Urdu1950Jammu & Kashmir, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh
Sanskrit1950Karnataka (Shivamogga District)
Sindhi1967Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh
Nepali1992Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh
Maithili2004Bihar and Jharkhand
Santhali2004West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha
Dogri2004Jammu and Himachal Pradesh
Bodo2004Assam and Meghalaya

  • Sindhi language was added in 1967.
  • Later on three more languages: Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali were included in 1992.
  • In 2004, Bodo, Dogri, Maithili and Santhali were added.
  • There have been demands for inclusion of other languages in the 8th Schedule.
  • These languages include Angika, Banjara, Bazika, Bhojpuri, Bhoti, Bhotia, Bundelkhandi, Chhattisgarhi, Dhatki, English, Garhwali (Pahari), Gondi, Gujjar/Gujjari, Ho, Kachachhi, Kamtapuri, Karbi, Khasi, Kodava (Coorg), Kok Barak, Kumaoni (Pahari), Kurak, Kurmali, Lepcha, Limbu, Mizo (Lushai), Magahi, Mundari, Nagpuri, Nicobarese, Pahari (Himachali), Pali, Rajasthani, Sambalpuri/Kosali, Shauraseni (Prakrit), Saraiki, Tenyidi and Tulu.

News Source: Indian Express

Source of Info: M. Laxmikant

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