JIPMER circular on use of Hindi in orders triggers row

The entrance of Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) in Puducherry.

The entrance of Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) in Puducherry. | Photo Credit: KUMAR SS

A new JIPMER circular directing the use of Hindi in records and communications has triggered a row, with the DMK planning a protest on Monday, seeking the withdrawal of the move, which comes amid widespread opposition to reported remarks by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, advocating Hindi as a link language for the country.

DMK convenor and Leader of the Opposition R. Siva, while denouncing the move, said a protest would be held in front of JIPMER on Monday, seeking the withdrawal of the circular, which was “yet another case of the institution working against the interests of the local population”..

A JIPMER spokesman, however, said that the circular was issued as per the directions of the Parliamentary Committee on Official Language. “The Institute has been asked to comply for a proposed inspection to be carried out soon. JIPMER doesn’t have a say in this, and is only implementing the directive (of the panel),” the spokesman said.

In two separate circulars marked “Top Priority” and issued by its Director recently, JIPMER made out the case that the provisions of the Official Language Act as per the Official Language Policy of the Government of India were not being complied with, and stipulated that henceforth, all communications, including orders and notifications, be issued in Hindi and English simultaneously.

The circular stated that it “has been observed that various Departments/Sections of the Institute are not complying strictly with the provisions contained in Section 3(3) of the Official Language Act, 1963. Section 3(3) provides that the documents of general orders, notifications, resolutions, rules, administrative and other reports, press communiques, contracts, agreements, licenses, permits, notices of tenders and forms of tenders should be issued in bilingual form, i.e., in Hindi and English simultaneously”.

Under Section 3 (3) of the Official Language Act, “General Orders” encompass all orders, decisions, instructions and circulars intended for departmental use, which are of standing nature, and all such orders, instructions, letters, memoranda, notices, circulars etc. relating to or intended for a group or groups of government employees.

“It is the responsibility of the officer signing such documents, as also the concerned section officer-in-charge, to ensure that the aforesaid documents are issued in bilingual form, both in Hindi and English simultaneously. Such documents should, therefore, be sent to the Hindi Section for translation before issue. All the heads of the departments and Section-In-Charges are requested to pay special attention and take necessary action to ensure strict compliance with this act,” the circular said.

A concomitant circular cited Rule 11(2) of the Official Language Rule, 1976, that the headings and columns of registers and headings in the files used in any Central government office shall be in Hindi and English as per assurance no. 7 given to the Committee of Parliament on Official Language.

“The subjects and the headings of the columns in all the registers/service books/service accounts, used in the office will be written in Hindi and English. In future, entries in all the registers/service books/service accounts will be made as far as possible in Hindi Only,” it said.

The circular directed all the heads of the departments/officer-in-charge of the section/staff members to take necessary action for strict compliance with the above rule, and to fulfil the assurance given to the Committee of Parliament on Official Language. The work should be monitored by the officer-in-charge of the departments/sections concerned, according to the circular that was sent to all the heads of departments/sections/units and the Chairman/Secretary, JIPMER Official Language Implementation Committee (JOLIC), and for display on all notice boards.

Slamming the move as another instance of JIPMER usurping native rights, Mr. Siva said that not only were the youth of Puducherry being neglected in employment opportunities at JIPMER, but also, the posts of doctors, nurses and office-bearers were being offered entirely to those from outside the Union Territory on a permanent basis.

The DMK leader demanded that the move towards the imposition of Hindi should be dropped; the people of Puducherry should be given quality treatment under the Ayushman Bharat insurance scheme without exclusion; and priority should be given to natives in all posts, including doctors and nurses, at JIPMER.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2022 5:53:29 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/jipmer-circular-on-use-of-hindi-in-orders-triggers-row/article65394622.ece