Kathmandu, September 8
The government today formed the Language Commission with Lav Dev Awasthi, who is presently the regional administrator of the Central Region, as its chairperson.
Minister of Information and Communications Surendra Karki said a Cabinet meeting held today took a decision to this effect. The government formed the commission in accordance with Article 287 of the Constitution which mandates the government to form the commission within one year of the commencement of the constitution.
Other members of the Commission, however, have not been named. The government can fix the strength of the commission as it deems necessary but it will have to ensure that one member is appointed from each province.
The commission is mandated to determine the criteria to be fulfilled for the recognition of the official language and make recommendation to the government for the same.
The commission is also mandated to recommend measures to be adopted for the protection, promotion and development of languages, to measure the level of development of mother tongue and make suggestions on the potentiality of their use in education.
Some political forces have also been demanding that ethnic groups should have the right to ensure that children get school education in their mother tongue.
Advocate Dipendra Jha said the efficacy of the commission could be judged only when other languages would be listed in the schedule of constitution as per the recommendation of the Language Commission to be made later.
As per the constitutional provision, the commission will have to make recommendation about the criteria for languages to be recognised as official languages within five years.
Minister of Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ajay Shankar Nayak told THT the government would appoint other members of the commission on the basis of inclusion. “We want an inclusive team at the commission, and therefore we want some time to pick others,” he said.
Former vice-president of the Nepal Bar Association Advocate Surendra Kumar Mahto said the formation of commission under Awasthi without the names of other members reflected that the government just wanted to fulfil the constitutional obligation.
He said the commission could take time to start its assigned job, as laws relating to the commission had not yet been enacted and other members of the commission had not been named.
Mahto said the commission would recommend the criteria for other languages to be recognised as official languages.
He said the provision of Language Commission was incorporated in the constitution after some political forces demanded in the erstwhile Constituent Assembly that Nepal, being a multi-lingual country, should also reflect its diversity in the language policy by having more languages for official communication.
Any language that is recognised as official language will also be the official language of province, he added. Currently, Nepali is the sole official language of the country.
A version of this article appears in print on September 09, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.