- MPs can ask questions in their mother-tongues
- Ministers cannot ask questions in their mother-tongues. They have to use English or Hindi.
- MPs can make speeches in their mother-tongues.
- Ministers cannot make speeches in their mother-tongues. They have to use English or Hindi.
- Ministers cannot answer questions in their mother-tongues. They have to use English or Hindi.
120. (1) Notwithstanding anything in Part XVII, but subject to the provisions of article 348, business in Parliament shall be transacted in Hindi or in English: Provided that the Chairman of the Council of States or Speaker of the House of the People, or person acting as such, as the case may be, may permit any member who cannot adequately express himself in Hindi or in English to address the House in his mother-tongue.Of course the undemocratic insistence that all members should "adequately express" themselves "in Hindi or in English" needs to be amended (at least to the extent that Hindi is removed from that list), but Mr. Achary's belief that his unbalanced treatment to MPs and Ministers has constitutional sanction looks to be untrue. Even if one were to interpret "any member" as "any member of parliament", there is sufficient slack in that term itself - since Ministers are, in general, members of parliament (or must be within 6 months of assuming office).
Also, in denying permission to Ministers to answer questions in their mother-tongues, Mr. Achary refers not to the constitution, but to precedent! How disappointing! In reality, Mr. Achary would have done nothing unconstitutional if he had indeed allowed Tamil to be used by Ministers. But when precedent takes precedence over the constitution, can there be any justice? And - is this whole unbalanced treatment to MPs and Ministers stemming from the fear that what Ministers say tends to get to the international media to which we want to pretend as a country which speaks either Hindi or English?