Official Indian Languages
Official Indian Languages

The Official languages are mentioned in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.

The official language is mentioned in the part XVII of the Indian Constitution.

The original Constitution mentioned 14 languages as the official languages.

This is covered in the articles from 343 to 351.

Constitutional provisions dealing with official language are divided into four (04) heads:

  1. Language of the Union (Article 343 to 344)
  2. Regional languages (Article 345 to 347)
  3. Language of the judiciary and texts of laws (Article 348 to 349)
  4. Special directives (Articles 350 to 351).

Hindi is the official language of the Union.

The English language was permitted for not more than a period of 15 years from the date of commencement of the Constitution for all the official purposes of the Union.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE ACT, 1963: The English language was continued as the official language along with Hindi by enacting the Official Language Act, 1963.  

ARTICLE 343: The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script.

The Official Language Commission is appointed by the President. The first Official Language Commission was appointed in the year 1955. B G Kher was the chairman of the first Official Language Commission.

Every bill that is introduced in the Parliament is also accompanied by a Hindi translation.

The language that is used in SUPREME COURT is English only.

The state legislatures were permitted to adopt any one or more than one languages.

NOTE: A state can adopt more than one language.

The Parliament can provide that all the proceedings in Supreme Court and High Courts are to be in English.

The Governor with the prior consent of the President can authorize the use of Hindi or any other language of the state in the proceedings of the concerned High Court.

All bills, acts, ordinances, orders, rules, regulations and Bye-laws at the central and states to be in English.

The state legislature can prescribe the use of any language other than English with respect to bills, acts, ordinances, orders, rules, regulations, or bye-laws, but a translation of the same in the English language is to be published.

An aggrieved person who belongs to the linguistic minorities has the right to submit a representation in any language used in the Union or states for the redress of grievances to any authority under the central or state government.

Every state should provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother tongue at the primary stage of education.

The President should appoint a special officer for linguistic minorities to investigate all matters relating to the constitutional safeguards for linguistic minorities and to report to him.

These reports are placed in front of the Parliament and sent to the concerned state governments.


In the original constitution, only 14 languages were mentioned.

At present the number of languages mentioned in the 8th schedule is 22.

Sindhi was the 15th language added through 21st amendment in the year 1971.

Konakani, Nepali and Manipuri languages were added through the 71st amendment in the year 1992.

The next 4 languages that added to the 8th schedule were Bodo, Dogri, Maitihli and Santhali.

The last four languages were added through 100th amendment.


  1. Assamese
  2. Bengali
  3. Bodo
  4. Dogri
  5. Gujarati
  6. Hindi
  7. Kannada
  8. Kashmiri
  9. Konkani
  10. Maithili
  11. Malayalam
  12. Manipuri
  13. Marathi
  14. Nepali
  15. Oriya
  16. Punjabi
  17. Sanskrit
  18. Santhali
  19. Sindhi
  20. Tamil
  21. Telugu
  22. Urdu

The first 14 languages with initially included in the Constitution and others were added later on. The Sindhi language was added in 1967. Thereafter three more languages viz., Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali were included in 1992. Subsequently, Bodo, Dogri, Maithili and Santhali were added in 2004.


In the year 2010, the Gujarat High Court observed that though the majority of the people in India have accepted Hindi as a national language there was nothing on record to suggest that any provision has been made or order issued declaring Hindi as a national language of the country. 

Language of the Judiciary in India

Article 348(1) of the Constitution of India provides that all proceedings in the Supreme Court and in every High court shall be in English Language, until Parliament by law otherwise provides.

However, under Article 348(2), the Governor of the State may, with the previous consent of the President, authorize the use of the Hindi language or any other language used for any official purpose of the State, in the proceedings of the High Court having its principal seat in that State provided that decrees, judgements or orders passed by such High Courts shall be in English.

In other words, the Governor of a state, with the previous consent of the President, can authorise the use of Hindi or any other official language of the state, in the proceedings in the high court of the state, but not with respect to the judgements, decrees and orders passed by it.

So, under this provision, the judgements, decrees and orders of the high court must continue to be in English only, until Parliament otherwise provides.

However, Section 7 of the Official Languages Act, 1963, provides that the Governor of a state, with the previous consent of the President, can authorise the use of Hindi or any other official language of the state for judgements, decrees and orders passed by the high court of the state, but they should be accompanied by an English translation.

This provision of optional use of Hindi in proceedings, along with English translation, has already been made in the high courts of four states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.

The Parliament of India has not made any provision for the use of Hindi in the Supreme Court. Hence, the Supreme Court hears the petition or appeal in English only. In 1971, a petitioner insisted on arguing in Hindi a habeas corpus petition in the Supreme Court. But, the Supreme Court cancelled his petition on the ground that the language of the Court was English and allowing Hindi would be unconstitutional.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which are the 22 languages Recognised by the Constitution of India?

1) Assamese, (2) Bengali, (3) Gujarati, (4) Hindi, (5) Kannada, (6) Kashmiri, (7) Konkani, (8) Malayalam, (9) Manipuri, (10) Marathi, (11) Nepali, (12) Oriya, (13) Punjabi, (14) Sanskrit, (15) Sindhi, (16) Tamil, (17) Telugu, (18) Urdu (19) Bodo, (20) Santhali, (21) Maithili and (22) Dogri.

Does India have an official language?

Article 343(1) of the Constitution provides that Hindi in Devanagari script shall be the Official Language of the Union. Article 343(2) also provided for continuing the use of English in official work of the Union for a period of 15 years (i.e., up to 25 January 1965) from the date of commencement of the Constitution.

Which Indian language is the oldest?

Sanskrit is the oldest language in the world but fell out of common usage around 600 B.C.  It is now a liturgical language – the holy languages found in the scriptures of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Further Demands:

There has been growing demands from various factions for inclusion of regional languages. The following 38 languages has been suggested.

(1) Angika, (2) Banjara, (3) Bazika, (4) Bhojpuri, (5) Bhoti, (6) Bhotia, (7) Bundelkhandi (8) Chhattisgarhi, (9) Dhatki, (10) English, (11) Garhwali (Pahari), (12) Gondi, (13) Gujjar/Gujjari (14) Ho, (15) Kachachhi, (16) Kamtapuri, (17) Karbi, (18) Khasi, (19) Kodava (Coorg), (20) Kok Barak, (21) Kumaoni (Pahari), (22) Kurak, (23) Kurmali, (24) Lepcha, (25) Limbu, (26) Mizo (Lushai), (27) Magahi, (28) Mundari, (29) Nagpuri, (30) Nicobarese, (31) Pahari (Himachali), (32) Pali, (33) Rajasthani, (34) Sambalpuri/Kosali, (35) Shaurseni (Prakrit), (36) Siraiki, (37) Tenyidi and (38) Tulu.

Read More: List of Recognised Languages