Constitutional provisions for Linguistic minorities-
(1) Art. 345 of the Indian Constitution states very clearly that “Subject to the provisions
of Articles 346 and 347, the Legislature of a State may by law adopt any one or more of
the languages in use in the State or Hindi as the language or languages to be used for all
or any of the official purposes of that State”.
(2) Article 347 is more explicit and states: “On a demand made in that behalf, the President may, if he is satisfied that a substantial proportion of the population of the State desire the use of any language spoken by them to be recognised by that State,
direct that such language shall also be officially recognised throughout that State or any part thereof for such purposes as he may specify.”
The right to conserve a minority language is also provided in the Constitution under “Cultural and Educational Rights” under Article 29 and Article 30 which read as under:
Art 29: Protection of interest of minorities: (1) Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.
(2) No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State fund on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.
Art 30: Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions
(1) All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
(2) The State shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.
Special provisions have also been made under Articles 350A and 350B to provide smaller
communities educational opportunities in their mother tongue and to appoint a special officer for linguistic minorities:
Art 350 A. Facilities for instruction in mother-tongue at primary stage – “It shall be the endeavour of every State and of every local authority within the State to provide adequate facilities for instruction in thr mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups; and the President may issue such directions to any State as he considers necessary or proper for securing the provision of such facilities.”
Art 350 B. Special Officer for linguistic minorities – (1) There shall be a Special Officer for linguistic minorities to be appointed by the President.
(2) It shall be duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under this Constitution and report to the President upon those matters at such intervals as the President may direct, and the President shall cause all such reports to be laid before each House of Parliament, and sent to the Governments of the States concerned.
Report of the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (Ranganath Misra Commission Report)