Let us be clear that absence of the term ’language’ does not permit the state to discriminate citizens based on ‘language’.

Article 15 of Constitution says

15. Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth

(1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them

DID YOU NOTICE THAT ‘LANGUAGE’ IS OMITTED? Why?

constitution of india Does Constitution Deliberately Permit Discrimination Based On Language?

LHR -Linguistic Human Rights is a major area of global judicial activism .Linguistic human rights (LHRs) are analysed as one type of human right, reflecting an inalienable norm Rights are needed for speakers of dominated languages, who individually and collectively experience linguistic ‘wrongs’, marginalization, and ultimately the extinction of the languages.

Wikipedia says

”Individual linguistic rights are provided for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

  • Article 2 – all individuals are entitled to the rights declared without discrimination based on language.
  • Article 10 – individuals are entitled to a fair trial, and this is generally recognized to involve the right to an interpreter if an individual does not understand the language used in criminal court proceedings, or in a criminal accusation. The individual has the right to have the interpreter translate the proceedings, including court documents.
  • Article 19 – individuals have the right to freedom of expression, including the right to choose any language as the medium of expression.
  • Article 26 – everyone has the right to education, with relevance to the language of medium of instruction.’

Linguistic rights – Wikipedia

Article 15 of Indian Constitution says:

15. Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth

(1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them

(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to

article 15 Does Constitution Deliberately Permit Discrimination Based On Language?

(a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and palaces of public entertainment; or

(b) the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public

(3) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children

(4) Nothing in this article or in clause ( 2 ) of Article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes

It is strange that the term ‘language’is omitted in Art 15,thus violating Art 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.                 Art 2 of UDHR says’

  • Article 2 – all individuals are entitled to the rights declared without discrimination based on language.’

So it is imperative that the term ‘language’ is also included by a Constitutional amendment.However,let us be clear that absence of the term’language’ DOES NOT PERMIT THE STATE TO DISCRIMINATE CITIZENS BASED ON ‘LANGUAGE’.This inference is based on a cardinal rule of interpretation of statutes called ‘ejus dem generis’which means

“ejusdem generis. (eh-youse-dem generous) adj. Latin for “of the same kind,” used to interpret loosely written statutes. Where a law lists specific classes of persons or things and then refers to them in general, the general statements only apply to the same kind of persons or things specifically listed.”

So,though the term’language’ is not specified,it shall be ‘deemed’ to be included in the list of ‘same kind’.However,this needs to be tested in Supreme Court by a petition.

In these days of offensive Hindi imposition by the Centre over unwilling non-Hindi citizens ,some one affected should be filing soon a petition on this kind of discrimination based on ‘language’under Art 15 to get things straight

By Alvaro Hans
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