Bhasha Andolan submits its demand in a fresh Memorandum to Orissa CM


A fresh Memorandum from Bhasha Andolan, Odisha for repeal of the illegally and fraudulently created Section 4, Section 5 and Section 4A of The Odisha Official Language Act, 1954,(hereinafter called the Act); for fresh amendment of the Act to make governance of Odisha in Odia an unavoidable must; for adoption of the suppressed Rules and, for withdrawal of prohibition arbitrarily imposed on the official website ଓଡ଼ିଆରେ ଶାସନ at with immediate effect, has been submitted to the new Chief Minister by founder-cum-chairman of the movement Sri Subhas Chandra Pattanayak on the 1st of July.  

“It is a matter of solace for us that your government is putting importance on Odia Asmita. But unless Odisha is governed in Odia, no such Asmita would ever grow” , the Memorandum has pointed out and proceeded to show how the said sections were created fraudulently with the notorious motive to deny the people of Orissa their right to be governed and get all the services in the language of their State.  

Background of Amendment, 2016

Orissa was created for management of all the official/public works of her people in Oriya Language. Therefore, in the 1st Assembly under the Constitution, The Orissa Official Language Act was enacted and promulgated in 1954. The Act begins with its object and reasons in these words:

“Whereas it is expedient to provide for the adoption of Oriya as the Language to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the State of Orissa, it is hereby enacted by the Legislature of the state of Orissa in the Fifth year of the Republic of India…”.

But despite many notifications the Act couldn’t be implemented in absence of Rules. A noted poet and advocate Gajanan Mishra ventured a fasting hartal in July 2015 in demanding governance of lower judiciary in Oriya language and under its impact the Chief Minister of the time had constituted a ministerial committee seeking advice on implementation of the act. Journalist Subhas Chandra Pattanayak was a nominated member in that Committee. He researched and found that the Act was too deficient to be implemented. Firstly because, there was no provision of punishment against violation of the Act and secondly because the Act had not given any power to the Government to frame Rules to punish the contraveners of the Act. He gave proposal to add a new Section, i.e. Section 4  to the Act which would enable the State Government to frame Rules to punish the contraveners and along with its draft, he submitted a set of draft Rules to drive the Act ahead. When the Ministerial Committee accepted these proposals unanimously and asked the Government to proceed to amend the Act accordingly, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, hand in glove with a bunch of non-Oriya IAS officers, tried to push the Committee into oblivion. Convinced of this from his office order dated 17.12.2015 Sri Pattanayak founded Andolan on 01.04.2016 to espouse the proposal he had advanced. Its applied mechanism – silent black flag campaign – commenced operation on 13.04.2016 and with eminent Odias from all walks of life participating in it. Government agreed to amend the Act.

Fraudulence used in amendment, 2016

The administrative department submitted a draft Bill to the Law department for vetting. The draft was vitiated with ingredients to frustrate the proposal of Sri Pattanayak. The Department of Law corrected the same in pencil (which is a statutory requirement) and gave concurrence subjected to adoption of the corrected  version by the Cabinet, for amendment of the Act, vide its advice dated 20.05.2016. The relevant Section of the concurred Bill is quoted in the Memorandum, which was thus worded:

2. The following new Section shall be inserted below Section 3A, namely: –
“4. The State Government may make rules for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of the Odisha Official Language Act, 1954.”

But intriguingly, instead of placing the same before the Cabinet, Chief Minister Naveen Patnnaik (as he then was) tampered with the concurred Bill and used the Governor to promulgate the fraudulent amendment through an Ordinance .

The Section 4 enacted through the Ordinance was entirely different, which read: 

4. The State Government may, within such period, in such manner and by such authority, as may be prescribed in the rules made under this Act, review and monitor whether the direction contained in the notification issued under sub-section (2) of section 2 has been effectively implemented.

Thus, this was a fraud perpetrated on the Bill vetted and concurred by the Law Department under the Odisha Government Rules of Business and was deliberately designed to render the Act inconsequential, Sri Pattanayak has alleged in the Memorandum.  Even though, through this fraudulent process, another Section, i.e. Section 5 was added to the Act, the same was evidently unauthorized and ultra vires of the Bill vetted and concurred by the Law department on 20.05.2016.

Hence, these two Sections inserted into the Act through the Ordinance, 2016, which was replaced by a regular Bill in the Assembly, are unauthorized, incompetent besides being forged and fraudulent and cannot have the legality to continue as part of the Act, the Memorandum has underlined. 

The illegal meeting of the Cabinet at Puri and its mischief

As Bhasha Andolan continued its Black Flag Campaign for provision of punishment to whoever contravenes the Odisha Official Language Act, an illegal cabinet meeting engineered by G. Mathi Vathanan, the then Secretary, Parliamentary Affairs department was held at Puri on 26.12.2017, where a Memorandum involving as many as six departments was adopted. Item No. 3 therein was concerned with amendment of the Odisha Official Language Act, 1954.

According to Instruction 17 of the Rules of Business, which is a Constitutional instruction, “The duty of the Secretary to the Cabinet shall be: (i) To communicate a list of business for and the date, time and place of every meeting to the Governor and to each Minister and to each Secretary of the Department concerned at least three days before the date for the meeting unless, in any case the Chief Minister otherwise directs.”

The Memorandum comprising 20 items belonging to six departments, placed before the Cabinet at Puri on 26.12.2017 entirely violated this instruction. The Secretary to the Cabinet, means the Chief Secretary, had never “communicated” to “the Governor and to each Minister and to the Secretary of the Department concerned” the “list of business for and the date, time and place” of the meeting “at least three days before” the meeting of the said Cabinet, Bhasha Andolan has pointed out in the Memorandum. It has cited official documents to show that G. Mathi Vathanan, secretary of the department of Parliamentary affairs had prepared the multidepartment memo in the night of 25.12.2017 vide No. 6567 and had placed the same before the so-called Cabinet on 26.12.2017. Instruction 22 of the Rules of Business was also contravened, Bhasha Andolan has told the CM. Thus, the decision of the Cabinet at Puri was devoid of merit, acceptability and legality. Yet, item No. 3 thereof, which was vitiated with ingredients to defeat the very purpose of the Act, was picked up to amend the Act in 2018. This item was pregnant with the mischief to punish the people of Orissa when any employee or officer contravenes the Act. It was also worded to reward whoever doesn’t work entirely in Oriya! Moreover, it wanted to place the Act under the mercy of the departments. Bhasha Andolan vehemently opposed this mischief, Sri Pattanayak has informed the CM in the Memorandum he has submitted. 

Forgery and Fraud in Amendment, 2018

According to the Memorandum, the then Chief Minister was so very motivated against use of Oriya in Offices, he wanted to amend the Act in accordance with the Puri decision. a draft bill was accordingly sent to the secretary of law department for statutory vetting. The Law department rejected the departmental proposal  to punish the department for fault of employees and corrected the Bill, stipulating therein that for not working in Oriya, the erring employees or officers shall be punished.  Accordingly, the official memorandum was placed before the Cabinet on 14.03.2018 and adopted. 

In this official memorandum corrected and concurred by the Law Department, at Para 3 it was noted, “There is no provision in the Act empowering the State Government to award incentives to the Government employees or officers for extensive use of Odia as the Official Language and also to punish the erring Government employees or Officers” , And at Para 4, it was written, “Hence it is felt necessary to make certain amendments to the said Act to enable the State government to prescribe suitable measures in the relevant rules to award incentives to Government employees or officers for extensive use of Odia as official language and also to punish the erring Government employees or officers.” 

This shows that the Puri concept of punishing the department, meaning the people for the fault of employees/officers was rejected by the Law department and  proposed law concurred by the Law department was to punish the erring employees or officers. This was also published in the official website of cabinet decisions at

But the then Chief Minister Sri Naveen Patnaik scammed this cabinet and replaced the official Bill prepared per the memorandum approved by the Cabinet on 14.03.2024 with a forged bill. 

Informing the CM of this in details, Sri Pattanayak in his memorandum has cited both the real Bill and the forged amendment.  Section 4A in the real Bill was:

“The State Government may prescribe suitable measures in the rules to award incentives to Govt. employees or Officers for extensive use of Odia as the official language and also to punish the erring Govt. employees or Officers.”

Section 4A in the forged amendment is:

4A. The State Government may prescribe suitable measures in the Rules to award incentives to officials or Departments for extensive use of the official language and also to punish the erring officials or Departments.

Describing this as “the severest instance of shame caused to the State” by the then Chief Minister Sri Naveen Patnaik, the Bhasha Andolan founder has stated in his memorandum that such fraudulent amendments to the Official Language Act of the State are the worst obstacles to governance of Orissa in Oriya. The amendment created through fradulence cannot be allowed to continue as part of the Law and therefore,  the Sections 4, 4A and 5 should be repealed immediately by the new Government in the coming session of the Assembly. 

In his Memorandum, the Bhasha Andolan Chief has urged upon the Chief Minister to further amend the Act to provide for rigorous punishment to whoever does not work and serve in Odia Language in offices within the jurisdiction of Orissa. 

Odisha Official Language Rules, 2016 be scrapped

“We insist that the Odisha Official Language Rules, 2016 based on the fraudulently created Section 4, which is, therefore, bereft of legality, be scrapped and after a new Section to enable the State Government to frame and promulgate the Rules is created in consonance with the Rules of Business is inserted to the Act, to please frame the Rules with necessary provisions for heavy penalty for the defaulters. The set of Rules proposed by Sri Subhas Chandra Pattanayak in the Ministerial Committee and submitted by the General Administration Department to the Department of Law under Orders of the Chief Secretary, dated 20.11.2015 may please be retrieved and adopted. When promulgated, that set of Rules will suffice to ensure that the State runs in the State Language’, has emphasised Bhasha Andolan in the Memorandum.

Arbitrarily imposed prohibition be lifted from the website ଓଡ଼ିଆରେ ଶାସନ

The Memorandum has further stated, “under advice of the Ministerial Committee, the Government had created a special website styled ଓଡ଼ିଆରେ ଶାସନ to be browsed at The idea was to place all materials relevant to management of official affairs in Odia in this website. Every citizen of Odisha was entitled to place in this site his/her complaint against violation of the Language Act and/or Rules by any functionary and the State was to post the action taken report on the said complaint, making thus an environment of partnership of the general public and the Government in ensuring the governance of the State in the State Language. But, as people’s participation increased, your predecessor made it a “prohibited” site.”

The Chief Minister has been requested in the Memorandum to remove the restriction arbitrarily and mischievously imposed on this site  by his predecessor. 

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