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:

 

   Provided that, until the Legislature of the State otherwise provides by law, the English language shall continue to be used for those official purposes within the State for which it was being used immediately before the commencement of this Constitution.

Debate Summary

Draft Article 301C (Article 345 of Constitution of India 1950) was absent in the Draft Constitution 1948. A Drafting Committee Member introduced this provision on 12 September 1949.   

 

The Draft Article empowered States to determine their official language based on the languages used in the respective State. In the absence of a law deciding the official language, English would be considered as the default language for official purposes. 

 

On 13 September 1949, a Member moved an amendment which ensured that there was no change in the medium of instruction of any State University or in the language officially recognized by courts of a province without Parliamentary sanction. He argued that changing the official language overnight will lead to unnecessary and unavoidable hardship to many. 

 

On the next day, another Member argued against the use of English as the language for official purposes in States. He moved an amendment which changed the Draft Article to state that States would continue to use the language used for official purpose within the State until the State passes a law to change it to English. He felt that it was unnecessary for a State to pass a law accepting a language it had already been using. 

 

The first amendment was withdrawn and the second one was rejected by the Assembly. The Draft Article was adopted without any amendments on 14 September 1949.