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Official Language (Legislative) Commission

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Official Language (Legislative Commission)Moonnummukku
0471-2743125/ 0471-2743229

Constitutional History
On the basis of the recommendations of the official Language Commission and the report of the Parliamentary Committee constituted under Article 344 (4) of the Constitution, a Presidential Order was issued so as to constitute the Official Language (Legislative) Commission. In pursuance of the said order the Central Official Languages (Legislative) Commission was constituted in the year 1961. Hence forth, the Ministry of Law, Government of India was entrusted with the responsibility of completing the necessary preparatory measures for translating Statutes. It was also entrusted with the planning and implementation of the entire programme relating to translation of Statutes. The Ministry was also made responsible for the preparation of Legal Terminology and Glossary for facilitating switch-over from English to Hindi and other Indian Languages. At that state, it was decided that the translation of Central Laws into regional languages should be done at the Central level in close collaboration with the appropriate agencies at the State level. For this the Central Government agreed to bear all the expenses of translation printing and publication of the Central Acts in regional languages.

The above decision paved the way for the constitution of Official Language (Legislative) Commissions in the States. Accordingly, the Government of Kerala by its order issued as per G.O.(Ms)No.42/68/Law dated 14.6.1968 constituted the Official Language (Legislative) Commission in the State. The Commission was constituted for the purpose of scrutinising glossary of Standard Hindi Legal Terminology prepared b y the Central Official Language (Legislative) Commission and suggesting modification, if any, with a view to make them suitable for adoption in Malayalam. This was intended for scrutinizing the Malayalam translations of the Central Acts, Rules (Issued under the Central Acts) etc., prepared by the Central Official Language (Legislative) commission. It was also aimed at suggesting modifications to make the translations appropriate to the Malayalam language and for translating the State Acts, Ordinances and the rules made thereunder into Malayalam.

Eventhough the State Commission was constituted to scrutinize the Malayalam translation of Central Acts prepared by the Central Commission, now the original translations are being done by the State Commission. Thereafter those translations are being sent to the Official Language Wing of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs for approval. The State Acts, Ordinances are being translated by the Translation Wing of the Law Secretariat of the Government of Kerala. Presently the State Commission is entrusted with the task of translating and publishing the Central Acts only. In implementing its scheme, the Commission is working on the basis of the directions issued by the Official Language Wing of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, Government of India. The expenses in connection with the printing and publication of the Acts are being met by the Government of India. This Commission is the only one institution in the State which has the exclusive authority to publish the Central Acts into Malayalam.

In view of the provisions contained in section 2 of the Authoritative Texts (Central Laws) Act, 1973, the translated version of the Central Acts published by the Commission are the Authoritative Texts of those Acts. As such those publications have the authority of the President of India. By virtue of the said provision, the publications of this Commission have prime importance, especially when the Government of Kerala have decided to switch-over the language of the Subordinate Court into Malayalam from English.

The Headquarters of the Commission is at Thiruvananthapuram. It is housed at the building with T.C.31/183, Moonumukku, Pettah P.O., Thiruvananthapuram – 695 024. The Commission is under the administrative control of the Law Secretariat of the Government of Kerala. The telephone numbers of the Commission are 0471-2743131, 2743657.
The Organizational set up and administration

For the smooth functioning of the Commission the Staff of the Commission are being deployed in the following three wings:-

(1) Technical Wing:- The Technical wing consists of one Language Expert, four Draftsmen, two Language Assistants, four Assistants and three Confidential Assistants.

(2) Sales Wing:- This wing has been constituted as per G.O.(Ms)No.949/1996/Law dated 22.8.1986 for accelerating the sale of the Malayalam version of the Central Acts published by the Commission. Separate Officers are not appointed in this wing. Therefore one Language Assistant and one Assistant from the Technical wing have been appointed to attend to the work of this wing, in addition to their normal duties. Due to the functioning of this Wing the translated version of the Central Acts have reached the public to a greater extent.

IV.Administrattion Wing
It consists of the following persons:

Section Officer 1
Assistants 2
Accountant 1
Confidential Assistants 1
Office Superintendent 1
Typists 6
Clerical Assistant 1
Duffedar 1
Roneo Operator 1
Binder 1
Peons 5
Driver 1
Part-time Sweeper 1
Part-time Watchman 1

V.The functions of the Commission and the task accomplished so far

The Central Acts translated by the Assistants, the Language Assistants and the Draftsman in the Technical Wing are submitted before the Commission for approval. After examination with due care, the Commission approves the same with modifications, if any, after obtaining the approval of the Commission, the translated version of those Acts are forwarded to the Official Language Wing of Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi. If the Official Language Wing is desirous of making any modification, the wing will return the Act with their suggestions on the proposed modifications. Thereafter, the Sign Manual of the translation will be printed and forwarded to the Official Language Wing for obtaining the assent of His Excellency the President of India. The translated version of the Act approved by the President of India will be published in the India Gazette, as provided under section 2 of the authoritative texts (Central) Laws Act, 1973. This will also be made available for sale to the public in book form from this Commission.

The Commission have sold books worth Rs.1,56,837/- during the period from 1.4.2001 to 31.3.2002 and from 1.4.2002 to 20.2.2003, Rs.1,37,260/-. 70% of the value of the books will go to the Central Government. 20% of the value as Agents Commission and the remaining 5% of the value is given as incidental expenses to the State government. This amount is calculated as half yearly account.

The Malayalam translation of 255 Central Acts have been approved by the Official Language Wing of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs so far, out of which 193 Central Acts were published and printed in book form. These Acts are available in the Commission’s Sales Wing. The printing and publication of 50 Central Acts are in different stages in the Government Press. The translation of the 10 Acts are ready to be submitted before the forthcoming working group.

The Scheme of the Commission is founded on policy announced by both the Central and State Governments, which aims at spreading Official Language and for improving legal literacy among the people. In order to achieve the said goal, the books are being sold at lowest rates, with a discount of 20% on the total purchase. The Commission sells Malayalam version of the various Central Acts through approved book sellers as agents. The books can also be had either from the Commission’s office or through post. For getting any book by post, cost of the book and postage charge has to be send to the Secretary, Official Language (Legislative) Commission, Kerala, Pettah P.O., Thiruvananthapuram - 695 024 by money order.

Among the various Central Acts now being sold by the Commission, main attraction is the Malayalam version of the Constitution of India, which is updated upto the 31st January, 2000. The book worth Rs.125/- is sold at Rs.100/-. The Commission has made arrangements for sending the books by speed post service. The postage for one copy of the Constitution is Rs.24/-. This rate is applicable for a distance of 1000 kms. The intending customers of other States has to ascertain the postage rates from the Commission's Office before sending the money order.

As the State Government have decided to switchover the language of the Subordinate Courts in the State to Malayalam, the functioning of the Commission has assumed much public interest. As such, the Commission is taking the maximum endeavour to publish more and more Central Acts in Malayalam. The Commission consider that the efforts of the Commission would help the common man to have access to various laws in the language which he knows.

Organisational Chart