(1) The President shall, at the expiration of five years from the commencement of this Constitution and thereafter at the expiration of ten years from such commencement, by order constitute a Commission which shall consist of a Chairman and such other members representing the different languages specified in the Eighth Schedule as the President may appoint, and the order shall define the procedure to be followed by the Commission.

 

(2) It shall be the duty of the Commission to make recommendations to the President as to —

 

(a) the progressive use of the Hindi language for the official purposes of the Union;

 

(b) restrictions on the use of the English language for all or any of the official purposes of the Union;

 

(c) the language to be used for all or any of the purposes mentioned in article 348;

 

(d) the form of numerals to be used for any one or more specified purposes of the Union;

 

(e) any other matter referred to the Commission by the President as regards the official language of the Union and the language for communication between the Union and a State or between one State and another and their use.

 

(3) In making their recommendations under clause (2), the Commission shall have due regard to the industrial, cultural and scientific advancement of India, and the just claims and the interests of persons belonging to the non-Hindi speaking areas in regard to the public services.

 

(4) There shall be constituted a Committee consisting of thirty members, of whom twenty shall be members of the House of the People and ten shall be members of the Council of States to be elected respectively by the members of the House of the People and the members of the Council of States in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.

 

(5) It shall be the duty of the Committee to examine the recommendations of the Commission constituted under clause (1) and to report to the President their opinion thereon.

 

(6) Notwithstanding anything in article 343, the President may, after consideration of the report referred to in clause (5), issue directions in accordance with the whole or any part of that report.

Debate Summary

Draft Article 301B, Munshi-Ayyangar Proposal, 1949

(1) The President shall, at the expiration of five years from the commencement of this Constitution and thereafter at the expiration of ten years from such commencement, by order constitute a commission which shall consist of a Chairman and such other members representing the different languages specified in Schedule VII-A as the President may appoint, and the order shall define the procedure to be followed by the Commission.

(2)  It shall be the duty of the Commission to take recommendations to the President as to—

(a) the progressive use of the Hindi language for the official purposes of the Union;

(b) restrictions on the use of the English language for all or any of the official purposes of the Union;

(c) the language to be used for all or any of the purposes mentioned in article 301E of this Constitution;

(d) form of numerals to be used for any one or more specified purposes of the Union;

(e) any other matter referred to the Commission by the President as regards the official
language of the Union and the language of inter-State Communication and their use.

     (3) In marking their recommendations under clause (2) of this article, the Commission shall have due regard to the industrial, cultural and scientific advancement of India, and the just claims and the interests of the non-Hindi speaking areas in regard to the public services.

     (4) There shall be constituted a Committee consisting of thirty members of whom twenty
shall be members of the House of the People and ten shall be members of the Council of States chosen respectively by the members of the House of the People and the members of the Council
of States in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single
transferable vote.

     (5)  It shall be the duty of the Committee to examine the recommendations of the Commission
constituted under this article and to report to the President their opinion thereon.

    (6)  Notwithstanding anything contained in article 301A of this Constitution, the President
may after consideration of the report referred to in clause (5) of this article issue directions in accordance with the whole or any part of the report.

The question of a national/official language for India generated intense debate and conflict right from the initial stages of the constitution-making process.

In the Draft Constitution of India, 1948 there were no provisions related to national language. It was only 12th September 1948, that language provisions were formally moved in the Assembly by Gopalaswami Ayyangar; these provisions came to be popularly referred to as the ‘Munshi-Ayyangar formula’ to indicate the authors of the proposal. K.M. Munshi and Ayyangar were tasked by the Assembly to propose language provisions that could be accepted by all warring groups. These provisions were moved together and taken up by the Assembly on 12th, 13th, and 14th September 1949

Draft Article 301B was the second Article in the Munshi-Ayyangar proposal.

The provision received criticism on two counts from some Hindi-wallah members. They did not want any commission or parliamentary committee to find mention in the Article, as they wanted the functions that the Article gave these two institutions to be handled by a future parliament. It is plausible that the underlying concern here was that the Article called for the Commission to compose of individuals representing different regional languages – this may put roadblocks on the early replacement of English with Hindi.

The second concern was that Draft Article seemed to suggest that for a period of 5 years, till the first Commission was set up, that Hindi was not be considered at all, or only in addition to English for the official purposes of the union.

The Assembly finally adopted the Draft Article with one amendment: to include Sanskrit as one of the languages under Schedule 7A.