(1) Notwithstanding anything in Part XVII, but subject to the provisions of article 348, business in Parliament shall be transacted in Hindi or in English:

 

       Provided that the Chairman of the Council of States or Speaker of the House of the People, or person acting as such, as the case may be, may permit any member who cannot adequately express himself in Hindi or in English to address the House in his mother-tongue.

 

(2) Unless Parliament by law otherwise provides, this article shall, after the expiration of a period of fifteen years from the commencement of this Constitution, have effect as if the words "or in English" were omitted therefrom.

Debate Summary

Article 99, Draft Constitution, 1948

(1) In Parliament business shall be transacted in Hindi or English:

Provided that the Chairman of the Council of States or the Speaker of the House of the People, as the case may be, may permit any member who cannot adequately express himself in either language to address the House in his mother tongue.

(2) The Chairman of the Council of States or the Speaker of the House of the People may, whenever he thinks fit, make arrangements for making available in the Council of States or the House of the People, as the case may be, a summary in Hindi or English of the speech delivered by a member in any other language and such summary shall be included in the record of the proceedings of the House in which the speech has been delivered.

 

Draft Article 99 (Article 120) was debated on 17th September 1949. It prescribed Hindi and English as the languages to be used in the Parliament, with exceptions for members who could not express themselves adequately in either language. 

 

The Chairman of the Drafting Committee moved an Amendment to wholly replace the Draft Article with the following:

‘Language to be used in Parliament. 

99. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in Part XIV A of this constitution but subject to the provisions of article 301F thereof, business in Parliament shall be transacted in Hindi or in English.  

Provided that the Chairman of the Council of States or Speaker of the House of the People or person acting as such, as the case may be, may permit any member, who cannot adequately express himself in either of the languages aforesaid to address the House in his mother-tongue.

(2) Unless Parliament by law otherwise provides, this article shall, after the expiration of a period of fifteen years from the commencement of this Constitution, have effect as if the words ‘or in English' were omitted therefrom.’

 

The debates in the Assembly were based on this Amendment. 

 

A member proposed that clause (1) be amended to include Bengali or any other regional language as an alternative to Hindi and English. He argued that members of Parliament might be prohibited from speaking in their mother tongue since the proviso to clause (1) gave the Speaker of the House the discretion to permit the use of regional languages. The member later withdrew his amendment from consideration.

 

The Assembly accepted the Drafting Committee’s amendment and adopted the Draft Article on 17th September 1949.