Can’t direct Centre to recognise a language as ‘official language’, says Supreme Court

A Bench headed by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud said the subject of the petition concerns a policy matter and not for the court’s to give a mandamus

July 21, 2023 11:20 am | Updated 12:10 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Supreme Court of India.  S. Subramanium

Supreme Court of India. S. Subramanium | Photo Credit: S. Subramanium

The Supreme Court on July 21 said it cannot direct the Centre to include Rajasthani as an official language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud said the subject of the petition concerns a policy matter.

“Today you have come to include the Rajasthani language in the Eighth Schedule, tomorrow somebody else may come for some other language. This is a policy matter and not for the court’s to give a mandamus,” the Bench informed the petitioner, Ripudaman Singh.

The court referred to a 1997 reported decision of the Supreme Court in the Kanhaiya Lal Sethia case to note that “to include or not to include a particular language in the VIIIth Schedule is a policy matter of the Union. Generally speaking, the courts do not, in exercise of their power of judicial review, interfere in policy matters of the State, unless the policy so formulated either violates the mandate of the Constitution or any statutory provision or is otherwise actuated by mala fides. No such infirmity is present in the instant case”.

The Bench noted that the court need not oblige a petitioner merely because the latter thinks the cause he or she represents is a genuine one.

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