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Punjab Cabinet nod for doubling penalties for violation of Languages Act to ensure Punjabi’s promotion

A file photo of Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi. Photo: DPR/Punjab

Chandigarh, Nov 7 (MNN) In a bid to ensure strict implementation of Punjabi as compulsory subject for Classes 1 to 10 across Punjab, the state Cabinet on Sunday approved amendment in law to double the penalties to Rs 50,000, Rs 1 lakh and Rs 2 lakh for violation of statutory provisions.

The Cabinet also gave its nod to introduce a Bill to this effect in the coming Punjab Vidhan Sabha session.

A CMO spokesperson said that any school contravening provisions of Punjab Learning of Punjabi and Other Languages Act, 2008 or rules made thereunder for a month for the first time shall be penalised Rs 50,000. In case violations are for a month for the second time, the penalty amount will go up to Rs 1 lakh and for third time and thereafter to Rs 2 lakh.

A Sub Section (1A) under Section 8 of the Act has been inserted, wherein the state government is of the opinion that it is necessary or expedient to do so, for reasons to be recorded in writing, it may suitably enhance or reduce any of the penalties as specified in Sub Section 1 of Section 8 of this Act by publishing a notification in the official gazette.

The Act of 2008 was enacted by the state to provide for learning of Punjabi as compulsory subject by all students studying in Classes 1 to 10 and for learning other languages also and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Sub Section 1 of Section 8 of the said Act relates to imposition of penalties upon schools that violate the provisions of the said Act.

As per the Act, word ‘school’ includes any primary, middle, high and senior secondary school, established and maintained by the state or a local body or panchayat, society or trust or such other schools as may be notified by the Punjab government from time to time.

The government vide notification dated March 22, 2010 had notified that central schools, Navodya schools and all schools affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education and Indian Council of Secondary Education in Punjab will be ‘schools’ under the said Act.

With the passage of time, it is felt that the aforesaid penalties are on the lower side and hence the two-fold increase.

The Cabinet also approved amendment in the Official Language Act, 1967 by including Section 8 (3) under Section 8 (d) of the Punjab State Language (Amendment) Act, 2008 according to which in addition to punishment the provision of penalty against officers/officials who do not conduct official business in Punjabi language has been made.

Accordingly, the provision has been made against the officer or official for violating the provisions of Punjab State Language Act, 1967 and Amendment Act, 2008 and various notifications made there under.

As per this provision, a first-time guilty officer or official can be fined Rs 500 as per recommendations of competent authority, i.e. Director, Language Department, Punjab.

The second offense carries a fine of up to Rs 2,000 and the third offense carries a fine up to Rs 5,000.

Such penalty shall be levied by the Disbursement and Expenditure Officer concerned on the erring officer or official’s salary, provided an opportunity to be heard will be given before such action.

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