On the basis of the recommendation of the Parliamentary Committee constituted under Article 344(4) of the Constitution of India, a Presidential Order was issued so as to constitute Official Language (Legislative) Commission at the Central level. In pursuance of the said order, the Central Official Language (Legislative) Commission was constituted in the year 1961. Thenceforth, the Ministry of Law, Government of India was entrusted with the responsibility of completing necessary preparatory measures for translating Central Laws. It was also entrusted with the task of planning and implementing the entire programme relating to translation of Central Laws. The Ministry was also made responsible for the preparation of Legal Terminology and Glossary for facilitating switchover from English to Hindi and other Indian Languages. At that stage, it was decided that the translation of Central Laws into Regional Languages should be done at the Central Level in close collaboration with the appropriate agencies at the State level. For this, the Central Government agreed to bear all the expenses of the translation, printing and publication of the Central Acts in Regional Languages. The above decision paved the way for the constitution of the Official Language (Legislative) Commissions in the States. Accordingly, the Government of Kerala vide order G.O.(Ms) No. 42/68/Law dated 14-6-1968, constituted the Official Language (Legislative) Commission in the State.
The Commission was constituted for the purpose of scrutinizing the Glossary of Standard Hindi Legal Terminology prepared by the Central Official Language (Legislative) Commission and suggesting modifications if any, with a view to make them suitable for adoption into Malayalam. This was intended for scrutinizing the Malayalam Translations of the Central Acts, Rules made thereunder etc. prepared by the Central Official Language (Legislative) Commission. It was also aimed at suggesting modifications to make the translations into the Malayalam Language and for translating the State Acts, Ordinances and the Rules made thereunder into Malayalam. Even though the State Commission was constituted to scrutinize the Malayalam translation of the Central Acts prepared by the Central Commission, the Original Translations are being done by the State Commission. Thereafter, those translations are sent to the Official Language Wing of the Legislative Department in the Ministry of Law and Justice for approval. The Legislation wing of the Law Secretariat of the Government of Kerala is translating the State Acts, Bills, Ordinances etc. Presently the State Commission is entrusted only with the task of translation and publication of the Central Acts. In implementing this scheme, the Commission is functioning on the basis of the directions issued by the Official Language Wing of the Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India. The Government of India is meeting the expenses in connection with the translation, printing and publication of the Central Acts. The Commission is the lone Institution in the State, having the exclusive authority to publish the Malayalam version of the Central Acts as Authoritative Texts.
In view of the provisions contained in Section 2 of the Authoritative Texts (Central Laws) Act, 1973 (Act 50 of 1973), the translated version of the Central Acts published by the State Commission are the Authoritative Texts of those Acts. As such, these publications have the authority of the President of India by virtue of the said provision, the publications of the Commission have prime importance especially when the Government of Kerala have decided to switch over from English to Malayalam, the Language of the Subordinate Courts. The Commission is taking all endeavors to publish all the Central Acts applicable to the State of Kerala in Malayalam. The Commission considers that such efforts would help the common man of the State to have access to the Central Laws in Malayalam language.
The Headquarters of the Commission is at Thiruvananthapuram. The Commission is under the administrative control of the Law Department, Government of Kerala.
The Commission consists of a full-time Chairperson and two full-time Members. The Chairperson is in the cadre of Special Secretary to Government or Senior Additional Secretary to Government, Law Department, Government of Kerala and the Members are in the cadre of Additional Secretary to Government, Law Department, Government of Kerala. The Secretary of the Commission is an officer of the Law Department in the cadre of Joint Secretary to Government. For the smooth functioning of the Commission, the officers in the Commission are divided into three categories as mentioned below:
I.TechnicalWing: - The Technical Wing consists of one Language Expert, four Drafts men, two Language Assistants, four Assistants and three Confidential Assistants.
ii. Sales Wing:-This Wing has been constituted as per G.O. (Ms) No. 149/1986/Law dated 22-8-1986 for selling Malayalam version of Central Acts. Separate Officers are not appointed in this wing. Therefore, one Language Assistant and one Assistant in the Technical Wing have been posted to attend the work of this Wing.
iii. Administrative Wing:-This Wing consists of the following officers:
1. Section Officer - 1
2. Assistants - 2
3. Accountant - 1
4. Confidential Assistant - 1
5. Office Superintendent - 1
6. Typists - 5
7. Clerical Assistant - 1
8. Duffedar - 1
9. Roneo Operator - 1
10. Binder - 1
11.Office Attendant - 5
12. Driver - 1
13. Part-time Watcher - 1
14. Part-time Sweeper - 1
Central Acts translated by the Language Expert and Draftsmen in the Technical Wing are submitted before the Commission for approval. After examination, the Commission approves the same with modifications, if any. After approval of the Commission, translated version of these Acts are forwarded to the Official Language Wing in the Legislative Department of the Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India, New Delhi. If the Official Language Wing suggests any modifications, the translated version will be returned with suggestions and proposed amendments. After considering such modifications, the translation in its final form will be sent to the Official Language Wing for placing them before the Working Group (R) meeting to be held at New Delhi. After approval of the Working Group, the Sign Manual of the translation is printed and forwarded to the Official Language Wing for obtaining the assent of the Hon'ble President of India. The translated version of the Acts approved by the President of India will be published in part XI of the Gazette of India Extraordinary, which part is set apart for Malayalam language, as provided under section 2 of the Authoritative Texts (Central Laws) Act, 1973. This will be made available for sale in book form from the Commission.
The Commission sells Malayalam version of the Central Acts through approved booksellers and agents. Besides, the Acts are sold to the Public and Government Offices also. Of the total value of the books, 75% goes to the Central Government, 20% as agents’ commission and the remaining 5% is given to the State Government as incidental expenses.
The Commission, through the translation of the Central Laws is accelerating the implementation of the policy of the Central as well as the State Government that the Official Language shall be in their respective regional language. As a result of the effective functioning of the Sales Wing, the Malayalam version of the Central Acts have reached the public to a considerable extent. This is one of the remarkable achievements of the Commission.