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Safeguards for Linguistic Minorities
The States Reorganisation Commission, 1956 (SRC, 1956) felt the provision under Article 350 to submit a representation in any of the languages used in the Union or in the States was not enough to protect the interests of the linguistic minorities and recommended for safeguards for linguistic minorities to learn their mother tongues and to use in the administration. Learning through mother tongue was more important to preserve and develop these minority languages. Accordingly, Article 350A was added to the Constitution through the Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 1956. Subsequently, a Scheme of Safeguards was evolved at all India level from time to time at various fora like the Education Ministers’ Conference, 1949; Government of India Memorandum, 1956; Southern Zonal Council Decisions, 1959; Chief Ministers’ Conference, 1961 and Meeting of the Committee of Vice-Chairmen of Zonal Councils, 1961 to protect and promote the minority languages through a consensual mechanism. It has been observed that even after several decades most of the States/UTs have not notified the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities. It is, therefore, the States/UTs are urged to notify the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities in their respective States.