Demand to include Indian Sign Language in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution

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Table the Indian Sign Language (ISL) Amendment in the 2019 Winter Session of the Parliament.

18 million Deaf and Hard of Hearing people are waiting for Indian Sign Language to be included among our official languages in India. But Parliament has yet to pass the amendment. 

Time is running out as the winter session of Parliament ends on 13th December. Sign and share this petition to make Parliament act now.

Time is running out for my petition asking our Parliament to include Indian Sign Language as one of our official languages in the Constitution of India.

There are 18 million deaf people in India. Their first language is Indian Sign Language. However, most deaf people have not had access to learn proper sign language. They are the least educated and least employed among the sensory disabled people in the country.  This is because of lack of access to basic language and communication skills. They are also the least included for the same reason.

Unless the language issue is addressed in a war footing manner, the development of deaf people will not take place. They will be left behind in the progress. Hence National Association of the Deaf (NAD) demands the Home Ministry take urgent steps to include Indian Sign Language (ISL) in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

Please note that the Indian Constitution has been amended before to add new languages. As per the information available on the net, initially, there were only 14 languages in the Indian Constitution. Currently, there are 22 official languages. The Eight Schedule was amended in 1967, 1992 and 2003. Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, and Santali were added in 2003 by the 92nd Constitutional Amendment Act. About one million people speak Bodo. Dogri is spoken by approximately 2.3 million people.  Maithili is spoken by 15 million people in India. Compare this with the following:  There are about 18 million people who are deaf in the country and their mother tongue/first language is Indian Sign Language! It remains an unrecognized language, thus making us totally invisible and “voiceless”! 

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities makes it clear that sign language should be given equal status as other spoken languages. It is the right of deaf people to access information in sign language. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 provides for - sign language as a mode of communication, having sign language teachers in educational institutions, sign language interpretations in media, etc.

In September 2019, NAD delegates met the Hon’ble Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India and gave our letter to him in this regard.  He was convinced and promptly sent the letter to the Home Ministry. We have not heard from the Home Ministry yet. We need to get the attention of the Government on this very urgent need of the Deaf community. 

We need your support!

Please join us in asking the Government of India to table the Amendment to Eight Schedule of Constitution to add Indian Sign Language in the Parliament’s upcoming Winter Session from 18th November to 13th December 2019.

Kindly sign the petition and also share it with others and help us to strengthen the campaign.

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