special officer for linguistic minorities
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Special Officer For Linguistic Minorities – Indian Polity Notes

Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities is a constitutional body under Ministry of Minority Affairs. This body was created under provisions of Article 350B which was added by 7th constitutional amendment act 1956.


Even during British Rule in India, Hindustani (as it was called) with its varied dialects was most spoken language. During end of British Rule in India, all Muslim dominated regions of Punjab, Sindh, NWFP, Balochistan, Bengal became Pakistan. Despite of this, Hindustani remained dominant language.

Post Independence, new states were to be created for administrative convenience. But successive State Reorganization Commissions have rejected the language as basis for reorganization. After Potti Sriramulu’s death after hunger strike for demand of separate telugu speaking state, Andhra Pradesh was created solely on basis of language.

Finally Fazl Ali Commission has accepted Language as basis for reorganization of states, based on recommendations of this committee, States Reorganization Act 1956 and 7th Constitutional Amendment Act 1956 was enacted creating 14 states and 6 Union Territories on lingual basis.

During this, debate on protection of interests of Linguistic Minorities emerged, to address this Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities is provided under Article 350B.

Who are Linguistic Minorities:

Though constitution has never defined word minorities. But first instance wherein word is used is in Article 29 which provides for protection of interests of minorities.

Supreme Court in several judgements has held that minorities meant subdominant population.

The linguistic minorities are considered as a group or collectivities of individuals residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language or script of their own.

In nutshell, Linguistic Minorities at the State level means any group or groups of people whose mother tongues are different from the principal language of the State.

Mission & Vision:


To ensure that all the States & Union Territories effectively implement the Constitutional Safeguards and the nationally agreed Scheme of Safeguards for the linguistic minorities for providing them equal opportunities for inclusive development.


Streamlining and strengthening implementation machinery and mechanism for effective implementation of the Constitutional Safeguards for the Linguistic Minorities, thereby, ensuring protection of the rights of speakers of the minority languages so as to provide them equal opportunities for inclusive and integrated development.


Official designation for special officer is “Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities in India”. He/She is assisted by deputy commissioners and assistant commissioner.

Powers & Functions:

Under Clause 2 of Article 350B,  functions of Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities are:

  • To investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under this Constitution.
  • Report to the President at such intervals as the President may direct, and the President shall cause all such reports to be laid before each House of Parliament and sent to the governments of the States concerned.


  • The headquarters of the special officer is in Delhi. It worked was shifted to Allahabad for brief period and is shifted back to Delhi in 2015.
  • It has regional offices at:
    • Belgaum, Karnataka
    • Chennai
    • Kolkata
    • Allahabad (Prayagraj)
  • Regional offices are headed by the Assistant Commissioners.
  • The keeps liaison with states and union territories through nodal officers.
  • Commissioner is assisted by the Assistant Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners.

To complete UPSC Polity Notes, Click Here

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