Parliament Nod to Bill for Declaration of 5 Official Languages for J&K

Tribunals Reforms Bill proposes amendments to ten laws

The Rajya Sabha passed the Jammu & Kashmir Official Languages Bill 2020, to declare certain languages of the UT. The bill declares the following languages as the official languages to be used of the official purposes of the Union Territory from such date as the Administrator of the Union territory may notify which are Kashmiri, Dogri, Urdu, Hindi, and English.

Business in the legislative assembly of the UT will be transacted in these official languages. It further clarifies that English may continue to be used in the Union Territory for those Administrative and legislative purposes for which it were being used before the commencement of the Act.

It may be noted that the J&K Re-Organisation Act empowers the J&K legislative assembly to decide on the adoption of official languages. Thus, some MPs opposed Bill. However, the government clarified thus “Vide the order S.O. number 3937(E) dated the 31st October, 2019 issued by the Government of India, any reference therein to the legislature or legislative assembly of the union territory of Jammu Kashmir shall, in so far as it relates to the functions and powers thereof, be construed unless the context otherwise requires, as a reference to Parliament.”

Further, there were several demands to make Punjabi as an official language of the UT as it is a widely spoken language among the locals there.