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The 92nd Amendment of the Indian Constitution

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  • Last Updated : 05 Aug, 2022
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India has a democratic government and its own Constitution. It also has a diverse linguistic population. Many of them are designated as the nation’s official languages. Languages are covered in Articles 344 (1) and 351 of the Indian Constitution. These are a part of the 8th schedule, which supports 22 languages. The State Legislature may, subject to the provisions of articles 346 and 347, adopt Hindi or any of the languages already in use in the State as the language or languages to be used for all or some of the State’s official functions.

Background:

The Constitution (92nd Amendment) Act of 2003, also known as the Constitution (One-Hundredth Amendment) Bill of 2003, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 18, 2003. (Bill No. 63 of 2003). It was put out by Lal Krishna Advani, the deputy prime minister at the time, and sought to change the Constitution’s 8th Schedule. There have been calls for specific languages to be added to the Constitution’s 8th schedule. It is suggested that the Bodo language be added to the Constitution’s eighth schedule.

92nd Constitutional Amendment:

Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, and Santhali were added to the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution as part of the Constitution’s ninety-second amendment, officially known as ‘The 92nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 2003’. This brought the schedule’s total number of languages listed to 22. The Government of India must foster the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule.

Constitutional Provisions Related to The 8th Schedule:

  • The Constitution’s articles 344 (1) and 351 contain the clauses that deal with the 8th Schedule. 
  • Five years after the Constitution’s inception, Article 344 (1) calls for the President to appoint a Commission.
  • According to Article 351 of the Constitution, the Union has a responsibility to advance Hindi’s use and development so that it can serve as a vehicle for all aspects of India’s composite culture.
  • It is also responsible for ensuring Hindi’s enrichment by incorporating, without compromising the language’s genius, the forms, styles, and expressions used in Hindustani and other Indian languages.

List of Languages in the 8th Schedule:

The Constitution’s Eighth Schedule lists the following 22 languages:

Assamese; Bengali; Gujarati; Hindi; Kannada; Sanskrit; Sindhi; Tamil; Telugu; Urdu; Kashmiri; Konkani; Malayalam; Manipuri; Marathi; Nepali; Oriya; Punjabi; Bodo; Santhali; Maithili; Dogri

In the beginning, the Constitution held 14 of the languages mentioned above. In 1967, the Sindhi language was added. After that, three other languages- Konkani, Nepali, and Manipuri were added in 1992. Bodo, Dogri, Santhali, and Maithili were added in 2004.

Criteria to Include Language Within The 8th Schedule:

Any language may be considered for inclusion in the Eighth Schedule without set standards. It is challenging to establish any criteria for languages and distinguish them from dialects because the evolution of dialects and languages is dynamic and impacted by socio-eco-political events.

Interesting Facts:

  • By the 21st Amendment Act of 1967, Sindhi was added.
  • The 71st Amendment Act of 1992 included Konkani, Manipuri, and Nepali.
  • The Maithili language is the second largest language used in Nepal.
  • The famed Hindi and Persian poet Amir Khusro used the phrase “Sindhi-o-Lahori-o-Kashmiri-o-Duger” to refer to Duger (Dogri) when describing the languages and dialects of India. The few inscriptions in the language, which borrow terms from Persian, Arabic, and English, dated to the 13th century.

Conclusion:

The 92nd Amendment of the Indian Constitution was an essential step to recognize minority languages and grant them official language status in the Constitution. It helps preserve primitive and native languages and benefits the speakers of these respective languages. Although making a law or amendment to the Constitution is time-consuming, it is essential to evolve and improve it time-to-time. The 92nd Amendment of the Indian Constitution made the essence of the 8th Schedule solid and trustworthy to Indian diversity.

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