CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS

  • Originally, the Constitution of India did not make any provision with
    respect to the Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities. Later, the
    States Reorganisation Commission (1953-55) made a recommendation in thisregard. Accordingly, the Seventh Constitutional Amendment Act of 1956 inserted a new Article 350-B in Part XVII of the Constitution. This article contains the following provisions:
    1. There should be a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities. He is to be
    appointed by the President of India.
    2. It would be the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters
    relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the
    Constitution. He would report to the President upon those matters at such intervals as the President may direct. The President should place all such reports before each House of Parliament and send to the governments of the states concerned.
  • It must be noted here that the Constitution does not specify the
    qualifications, tenure, salaries and allowances, service conditions and
    procedure for removal of the Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities.

COMMISSIONER FOR LINGUISTIC MINORITIES

  • In pursuance of the provision of Article 350-B of the Constitution, the officeof the Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities was created in 1957. He isdesignated as the Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities.
  • The Commissioner has his headquarters at Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh). He
    has three regional offices at Belgaum (Karnataka), Chennai (Tamil Nadu) andKolkata (West Bengal). Each is headed by an Assistant Commissioner.
  • The Commissioner is assisted at headquarters by Deputy Commissioner
    and an Assistant Commissioner. He maintains liaison with the State
    Governments and Union Territories through nodal officers appointed by
    them.
  • At the Central level, the Commissioner falls under the Ministry of
    Minority Affairs. Hence, he submits the annual reports or other reports to thePresident through the Union Minority Affairs Minister.

ROLE OF THE COMMISSIONER

  • The Commissioner takes up all the matters pertaining to the grievances
    arising out of the non-implementation of the Constitutional and Nationally Agreed Scheme of Safeguards provided to linguistic minorities that come toits notice or are brought to its knowledge by the linguistic minority individuals, groups, associations or organisations at the highest political andadministrative levels of the state governments and UT administrations andrecommends remedial actions to be taken.
  • To promote and preserve linguistic minority groups, the Ministry of
    Minority Affairs has requested the State Governments / Union Territories togive wide publicity to the constitutional safeguards provided to linguisticminorities and to take necessary administrative measures. The stategovernments and UT Administrations were urged to accord priority to theimplementation of the scheme of safeguards for linguistic minorities. TheCommissioner launched a 10 point programme to lend fresh impetus toGovernmental efforts towards the preservation of the language and culture oflinguistic minorities.

VISION AND MISSION

The vision and mission of the Commissioner are mentioned here.

Vision

  • Streamlining and strengthening implementation machinery and mechanism
    for effective implementation of the Constitutional safeguards for the
    Linguistic Minorities, thereby ensuring protection of the rights of speakers ofthe minority languages so as to provide them equal opportunities for inclusiveand integrated development.

Mission

  • To ensure that all the states / U.T.s effectively implement the Constitutionalsafeguards and the nationally agreed scheme of safeguards for the linguisticminorities for providing them equal opportunities for inclusive development.

FUNCTIONS AND OBJECTIVES

In more detail, the functions and objectives of the Commissioner are as
follows:

Functions

1. To investigate all matters related to safeguards provided to the linguistic
minorities
2. To submit to the President of India, the reports on the status of
implementation of the Constitutional and the nationally agreed safeguards
for the linguistic minorities
3. To monitor the implementation of safeguards through questionnaires,
visits, conferences, seminars, meetings, review mechanism, etc

Objectives

1. To provide equal opportunities to the linguistic minorities for inclusive
development and national integration
2. To spread awareness amongst the linguistic minorities about the
safeguards available to them
3. To ensure effective implementation of the safeguards provided for the
linguistic minorities in the Constitution and other safeguards, which are
agreed to by the states / U.T.s
4. To handle the representations for redress of grievances related to the
safeguards for linguistic minorities

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