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

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

As per decision in the Joint Action Committee on implementation of Orissa Official language Act, 1954, esteemed Dr.Debi Prasanna Pattanayak has drafted the Language Policy to be placed before it in its next meeting. It is perhaps the best thing to happen.

Yet I feel, unless there is a specific set of Rules to drive the Official Language Act ahead, it has to stay defunct as it has, since 1954. Because of this lacuna, former Chief Minister Mr. J. B. Patnaik, despite all his sincere attempts, could not implement it.

There are intermittent circulars from various departments for use of Oriya in official works and correspondences; but they have not been honored, simply because, in absence of the Rules, the Act has failed to propel itself.

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.

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