The Supreme Court Orders to Adopt Urdu as Official Language

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 directed to the Federal and Provincial Governments to implement Urdu as official language in the country.

Announcing the verdict on petition filed by Advocate Mr Kokab Iqbal, pertaining to promotion and implementation of Urdu language, a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Jawwad S Khawaja directed the government to fulfill its constitutional obligation.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the implementation of Urdu as the official language in government offices. The three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Jawaad S Khawaja announced its judgment over petitions seeking to make Urdu as an official language. (…Const.P._56_2003_E_dt_3-9-15)

The Supreme Court has ordered the immediate implementation of Article 251 and issued following nine guidelines’ for making Urdu an official language:

Guidelines:

  1. The provisions of Article 251 shall be implemented with full force and without unnecessary delay by the Federal and Provincial governments. 
  2. The time lines which are given by the government itself must be considered for implementation by the government in line with Article 251 for implementation. 
  3. The federal government as well as provincial governments should coordinate with each other for uniformity in the “rasmulkhat’ for the National language. 
  4. Federal as well as provincial laws should be translated in the National languages within three months. 
  5. Statutory, regulatory and oversight bodies shall take steps to implement Article 251 without unnecessary delay and also ensure compliance by regulatees. 
  6. In the competitive examinations at federal level the recommendations of government bodies noted above, should be considered by the government for implementation without unnecessary delay. 
  7. Judgment in cases relating to public interest litigation and judgments enunciating a principal of law in terms of Article 189 must be translated to Urdu and should be published in line with Article 251 of the Constitution. 
  8. In court cases government departments should make all reasonable efforts to submit their replies in Urdu to enable citizens to effectively enforce their legal rights. 
  9. If, subsequent to this judgment, any public bodies or public officials continue to violate the constitutional command contained in Article 251, citizens who suffer a tangible loss directly and foreseeably resulting from such violation shall be entitled to enforce any civil rights which may accrue to them on this account. 

Article 251 of the Constitution of Pakistan:

(1) The national language of Pakistan is Urdu and arrangements shall be made for its being used for official and other purposes within fifteen years from the commencing day.

(2) Subject to clause (1), the English language may be used for official purposes until arrangements are made for its replacement by Urdu.

(3) Without prejudice to the status of the National language, a Provincial Assembly may by law prescribe measures for the teaching, promotion and use of a provincial language in addition to the national language.

Motivational Endorsement:
Urdu in the second largest Spoken Language in the World after Chinese. On behalf of Urdu Internet Society (Linguistic Internet Council) and Internet Governance Forum of Pakistan, we highly appreciate Advocate Mr Kokab Iqbal for his professional services for the Advocacy for the Implementation of Urdu as an Official Language of the Country. We also highly appreciate SC bench (headed by Chief Justice Jawaad S Khawaja) judgment over petitions seeking to make Urdu as an official language and proper implementation of Article 251 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

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