Members of the Rajya Sabha can speak in any of the 22 Scheduled Indian Languages from the Monsoon Session of Parliament that begins on 18 July.
The Upper House earlier allowed members to speak in 17 of these languages; it has now arranged for simultaneous translation in five more languages – Dogri, Kashmir, Konkani, Santhali, and Sindhi – should the members request to use them. With this, all the 22 Indian languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution are now covered.
Interpreters in these five languages were trained by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat with the help of language departments of universities and the resident offices of state governments in Delhi. They were formally inducted by Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice-President of India M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday.
Article 120 of India’s Constitution says that Parliament’s business can be transacted in Hindi and English, both of which have been defined as India’s official languages. But it permits the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and the Speaker of the Lok Sabha to allow members who cannot adequately express themselves in Hindi or in English to speak in their native language.
These Are The 22 Indian Languages
The Rajya Sabha earlier had interpreters for 12 Indian languages – Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. It took the help of personnel from the Lok Sabha for interpreting Bodo, Maithili, Manipuri, Marathi and Nepali. The list is now complete with the addition of Dogri, Kashmiri, Konkani, Santhali, and Sindhi interpreters.
The Constitution originally included 14 languages in the Eighth Schedule; Sindhi was included in 1967; Konkani, Manipuri, and Nepali were added in 1992. Four more languages, Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, and Santhali, were included in 2003
English The Language For Acts, Ordinances
According to Article 348 of the Constitution of India, English is the language to be used in authoritative texts of all Bills that are introduced or amendments that are introduced in either House of Parliament or the House or either House of a State Legislature.
It is also the language for all Acts passed by the Parliament or a State Legislature, and of all Ordinances promulgated by the President or a state Governor. This also applies to all orders, rules, regulations, and bye-laws issued under the Constitution or under any law made by the Parliament or a State Legislature, Article 348 lays down.
It also states that all proceedings in the Supreme Court and all High Courts shall be in English.
English, incidentally, is the official language of the state of Nagaland.