Orissa Official Language Act has no Drive // Amendment along with Rules Suggested

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Official language Act, 1954 came “into force at once” on 14th October 1954 (Section 1 (3) of the Act) and “It extends to whole of the State of Orissa (Sub-Section (2) of Section 1). Section 2 stipulated,”Oriya shall be the Language to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the State of Orissa.” However, Sub-section (2) of this Section mentioned that the Government may “direct” as to which specific area would come into the force of this Act from which date, by way of “Notification”. After various circulars and directions for use of Oriya went barren, the contemplated Notification was promulgated in 1885. Yet the Act is not being implemented.

I find three lacunae which unless removed governance of Orissa in Oriya shall remain impossible. Firstly, as there is no provision for punishment against contravention of the Act, Government functionaries are encouraged to ignore the Notification/directions and not at all honoring the Act; secondly, there is no Rules to drive the Act ahead and no power is also given to the Government to frame and promulgate the Rules; Thirdly, Section 3-A inserted in 1963, despite the Assembly Speaker’s ruling and limitation only to the Assembly business, is arbitrarily extended to entire administration and fourthly, with industrial empires controlling major manpower and public interest, the nomenclature of the Act by itself is deficient.

I found that, the necessary legislative mind was conspicuous by its absence while considering the Bill, as a result of which, there is no discussion on why the word “may” was used in Sub-Section (2) of Section 2 as against “shall” in Sub-Section (3) of Section 1 in the Act and the term “specific areas” in 2(2) was neither defined not discussed.

I feel, unless these lacunae are removed and there is a specific set of Rules to drive the Official Language Act ahead, it has to stay defunct as it has, since 1954.

Therefore, I am advancing a draft of the Rules for consideration in the JAC. Problem is: the Act has no provision for creation of Rules. Hence, necessary amendments to the Act are also suggested.

On the other hand, we need Oriya to be used in private, State-based foreign industries, trade and commerce outfits, corporate houses, public sector undertakings, cooperatives, and all autonomous organizations in Orissa. But, these bodies are not “official” in status.

Therefore, the word “Official” in the original Act needs to be replaced with a word that would encompass all such non-official organizations, in order to ensure that the purpose of the Act is not defeated. My dear friend Advocate Sarat Kumar Panda, whose wisdom and expertise sic passim the draft, suggests that, if the word “Official” is replaced with the word “Public” in the Act and used in the Rules (as drafted), the purpose would be best served.

Here are the suggested amendments in the Act and the Draft of the Rules, which, if accepted, will drive the Act effectively ahead.

It is submitted to Hon’ble Minister Debi Prasad Mishra, Chairman, JAC as per Resolution No.3 of its meeting dated August 1, 2015.

Bhasa sangram_eng

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OBSS shifted proposed agitation agenda as governance of Orissa in Oriya is on anvil

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Governance of Orissa in Oriya language being already put on the anvil, Orissa Bhasa Sangram Samiti (OBSS) shifted its re-agitation agenda which was to commence today.

OBSS Press Meet, 17.8.15

OBSS convener Sankar Parida told the press that on evolution of a Joint Action Commiittee (JAC) comprising five ministers representing the Chief Minister and seven language activists representing the OBSS has decided to promulgate a set of Rules for working of the Orissa Official language Act, 1954 along with a Language Policy.

Program is accordingly drawn to discuss the Language Policy and the proposed Orissa Official Language Rules in the next meeting of the JAC to be held in the last week of this month. The minutes of the JAC would be placed before the Chief Minister under whose desire the JAC has been formed and thereafter, official steps shall be taken to accord necessary status of law to the Policy and the Rules.

OBSS is in frequent touch with the Ministers of the committee in this matter and on August 15, in an informal discussion with OBSS leadership, the Industries, School and Mass education Minister Sri Debi Prasad Mishra, who heads group of Ministers in this specific matter, has also indicated the government’s positive mind.

In view of this, the re-agitation agenda of the OBSS has been shifted sine die, Sri Parida informed.