Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities in India
Initially, there was no provision in the Indian Constitution for a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities. A recommendation was later made in this regard by the States Reorganisation Commission (1953–55). As a result, in Part XVII of the Constitution, the Seventh Constitutional Amendment Act of 1956 added a new Article 350-B. The following provisions are included in this article:
1. A Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities should be appointed. He will be appointed by India’s President.
2. The Special Officer would be responsible for investigating any matters relevant to the constitutional safeguards for linguistic minorities. At such intervals as the President may specify, he would report to the President on those topics. All such reports should be presented to each House of Parliament and sent to the governments of the states affected by the President.
The qualifications, term, wages and allowances, service conditions, and procedure for dismissal of the Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities are not specified in the Constitution.
Linguistic Minorities Commissioner
In 1957, the post of the Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities was established in accordance with Article 350-B of the Constitution. He has been appointed to the position of Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities.
Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) is the Commissioner’s headquarters. Belgaum (Karnataka), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), and Kolkata (West Bengal) are his three regional offices. An Assistant Commissioner is in charge of each.
At headquarters, the Commissioner is assisted by a Deputy Commissioner and an Assistant Commissioner. Through nodal offices nominated by the state governments and union territories, he maintains contact with them.
The Commissioner is overseen by the Ministry of Minority Affairs at the federal level. As a result, he sends the President annual reports or other reports via the Union Minority Affairs Minister.
The Commissioner’s Role
The Commissioner investigates all grievances arising from the non-implementation of the Constitutional and Nationally Agreed Scheme of Safeguards provided to linguistic minorities that come to its attention or are brought to its attention by linguistic minority individuals, groups, associations, or organizations at the highest political and administrative levels of state governments and UT administrations, and recommends remedial actions to the state governments and UT administrations.
The Ministry of Minority Affairs has asked state governments and union territories to publicize the constitutional safeguards afforded to linguistic minorities and to take the required administrative measures to promote and preserve them. The state governments and UT administrations were advised to make the implementation of the linguistic minorities safeguarding scheme a top priority. The Commissioner proposed a ten-point plan to re-energize government efforts to preserve linguistic minorities’ languages and cultures.
The Vision and Mission
The Commissioner’s vision and mission are discussed here.
Streamlining and strengthening the implementation machinery and mechanisms for the effective implementation of the Constitutional safeguards for linguistic minorities, ensuring the protection of minority language speakers’ rights and providing them with equal opportunities for inclusive and integrated development.
To ensure that all states and U.T.s successfully implement the Constitutional safeguards and the nationally agreed-upon plan of safeguards for linguistic minorities in order to provide them with equal possibilities for growth.
Functions and Objectives
The following are the Commissioner’s functions and objectives in further detail:
1. To look into all issues concerning the protections afforded to linguistic minorities.
2. To make reports to the President of India on the state of the Constitutional and nationally agreed-upon safeguards for linguistic minorities.
3. To monitor safeguards implementation by questionnaires, visits, conferences, seminars, meetings, and a review process, among other things.
1. To provide linguistic minorities with equal opportunities for inclusive development and national integration. 2. To raise awareness among linguistic minorities about the safeguards available to them. 3. To ensure that the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities in the Constitution and other safeguards agreed to by the states / U.T.s are effectively implemented.
4. To deal with complaints about linguistic minority’ rights and protections.