The Delhi High Court has recently dismissed a public interest litigation petition filed seeking a direction to the government to include Indian Sign Language (ISL) in Schedule VIII of the Constitution of India.
The Division Bench of Justice Patel and Justice Shanker rejected the claim of the petitioner holding that there are adequate provisions under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, to recognize, preserve and promote Indian Sign Language.
"In the petition, the petitioner had argued that due to inadequate awareness about Indian Sign Language, persons with hearing disability suffer immense discomfort and discrimination. The lack of explicit government recognition affects the promotion and preservation of the language. Therefore, the government shall be directed to include Indian Sign Language in Schedule VIII of the Constitution."
However, the Bench rejected the argument by referring to the affidavit filed by the central government which highlighted that there are adequate provisions under various sections of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. Like, section 16 preserves and promotes Indian Sign Language for the purpose of education and section 42 ensures the access to electronic information in sign language.
Further, the court also noted that the Indian Sign Language Training and Research Centre has been established by the government to promote the language. Therefore, the court did not see any reason in directing the government to take up any other steps to promote the said language.
On the question of including ISL in Schedule VIII of the Constitution, the court held that the same is a decision that has to be taken by the government and not by the present court.