Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities
Article 350 B deals with the provision for Special Officer for linguistic minorities.
It shall be the 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.
State’s Reorganization Commission (1953-55), made a recommendation regarding Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities.
Efficient and prudent implementation of constitutionally approved linguistic minority safeguards has been the basic parameter in establishing the vision of Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities.
Their vision revolves around providing protection to the minorities in terms of language speakers. The vital vision is to provide equal and justified opportunities for inclusive and integrated development.
The mission of Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities is adhered to the successful and efficient implementation of constitutional safeguards and nationally agreed scheme of safeguards for the linguistic minorities for providing them equal opportunities for inclusive development.
Article 350 B of the Constitution provides for the appointment by President of a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities. This Officer is known as National Commissioner Linguistic Minorities and following are the provisions:
- There shall be a Special Officer for linguistic minorities to be appointed by the President.
- It shall be the 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.
- His seat is at Allahabad.
- He is assisted by deputy commissioners and assistant commissioner
- He maintains liaison with the state governments and Union Territories through nodal officers appointed by them.
- The commissioner falls under the ministry of Minority Affairs at central level.
- He submits the annual reports or other reports to the President through the Union Minority Affairs Minister.
- To provide equal opportunities to linguistic minorities for inclusive development and national integration.
- To spread awareness among the linguistic minorities about the safeguards available to them.
- To ensure effective implementation of the safeguards provided to linguistic minorities in the constitution and other safeguards agreed to.
- To handle the representations for the redress of grievances related to safeguards for linguistic minorities
Role of the Officer:
To take up all the matters pertaining to the grievances arising out of the non-implementation of the Constitutionally and Nationally Agreed Scheme of Safeguards provided to linguistic minorities that come to its notice or are brought to its knowledge by the linguistic minority individuals, groups, associations or organisations at the highest political and administrative levels of the state governments and union territory administrations and recommends remedial actions to be taken.
- To promote and preserve linguistic minority groups, the Ministry of Minority Affairs has requested the State Governments / Union Territories to give wide publicity to the constitutional safeguards provided to linguistic minorities and to take necessary administrative measures.
- The state governments and UT Administrations were urged to accord priority to the implementation of the scheme of safeguards for linguistic minorities.
- The Commissioner launched a 10 point programme to lend fresh impetus to Governmental efforts towards the preservation of the language and culture of linguistic minorities.
Functions of the officer:
- To investigate all matters related to safeguards provided to linguistic minorities.
- To submit to the president the reports on status of implementation of constitutionally and nationally agreed safeguards to linguistic minorities.
- To monitor the implementation of safeguards through questionnaires, visits, conferences, seminars, meetings, etc.
A Critical Appraisal
In order to uphold the vision, Mission and objectives of the organization, Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities have always made endeavors to adhere by constitutional safeguards. Various institutions, organizations and promotional events have been established to preserve and protect the languages of minorities. However, sporadic incidents of denigrating minority languages have been noticed, which must be avoided so as to serve the linguistic minority’s purpose in letter and spirit.