CENTRAL SANSKRIT UNIVERSITY BILL, 2019
The Central Sanskrit University Bill (hereinafter referred as CSUB) was introduced in the Parliament of India, by the Union Human Resource and Development Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal, the said bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 12.12.2019. The purpose for introducing the said bill was to develop an institution where Sanskrit was promoted through enlightening activities, for sufficient provision of resources in relation to matters connected with the learning of Sanskrit. It is known in common parlance, that Sanskrit is the language of Gods, hence learning this language can benefit the learner with the gift of understanding the ancient scriptures and the rich history of India.
Highlights of the Bill
Legislative intent: It can be derived from the speech of the bill mover i.e. HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, that the purpose for which this bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on 11.12.2019, since Sanskrit is the most ancient and treasured language, hence to preserve it and efficiently deliver resources for its learning, the bill was moved in the Lok Sabha, to convert three deemed Sanskrit universities of India, (i) Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Tirupati (ii) Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi (iii) Shri Lal Bahadur Shashtri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, New Delhi, into Central Sanskrit Universities ( S. 3(1) of the Central Sanskrit University, Bill 2019). The legislative intent can be seen in S. 5 of the bill where the object of the University is stated to be providing the facility for research, for promoting Sanskrit as a language and other provisions for courses in humanities, social sciences and educational programs.
Powers and functions of the University: The parliament has vested powers in the University in matter of providing instructions, grant degree, certificate and distinctions to qualified persons, to institute professorships, assistant professorships, to create administrative and ministerial positions. There are some separational and added powers including that the University can confer autonomous status on a part of itself, some other college, or some department of itself. The university has been assigned a function of taking disciplinary actions, against students, teachers, or the staff. Another vital function is to make special arrangements for women, persons, and children with disabilities. The bill completely prohibits discrimination by the University in matter of caste, creed, race, and sex (S. 7 of the Bill).
Authorities of the University: It is envisaged in S. 19 of the bill, that the authorities of the University are (i) Planning and Monitoring Board (ii) the Court (iii) Executive Council, the main executive body of the University (iv) academic council, for the supervision and implementation of academic activities (v) board of studies, for the approval of various subjects in which research can be carried out and this board also holds jurisdiction to make recommendations with due regard to the improvement in the standards of teaching and research (vi)finance committee is to formed for the sole purpose of aiding an advising in matters related to University Expenditure. Alongside these authorities, there are other persons involved in monitoring, managing, and making amendments to the rules and regulations surrounding these authorities, the vice chancellor, dean of respective schools, the visitor i.e. President of India, Registrar, finance officer, Controller of Examination, Librarian. S. 20 -27 of the bill visualize the constitution, appointment, and powers of the above-mentioned authorities.
Executive Council is the most powerful administrative and decision-making body of the University. As per the Bill, the executive council should consist of 15 members, in regards to the executive council, there are 4 permanent members which are the vice chancellor, Joint secretary of HRD ministry and two eminent persons acquainted in Sanskrit or subjects resembling Sanskrit. The Vice Chancellor is appointed as the Chairperson of the Council. The Executive Council ( hereinafter referred as EC ) has the power to make, amend or repeal statues, and can pass ordinances but there is a proviso that the EC cannot pass any statue which infringes on the power and the constitution of the University.
Visitor of the University: The bill confers the visitor status to the President of India, as per S. 8 of the Bill, the president has the authority to appoint persons to review the work and progress of the University, he has the power to cause an inspection of any person or department by passing a direction under his hand and seal.
EC has been given the power to take action on the material found out during the inspection, if no action was taken by the EC, the visitor has the power to give orders which are binding on the University. The added power with the visitor is that he could terminate any proceeding of the University which is not in agreement with the bill.
Power in regard to Dispute and Appeals : It is mentioned in S. 36 of the Bill that any student whose name could have been removed from the records of the University or he/she has been has been barred from appearing in an exam, has the right to appeal to the EC, the EC has the authority to review the said decision. On receiving an application of the student, a dispute in relation to disciplinary action can be referred to an arbitral tribunal.
The bill specifies the composition of the tribunal as, one member of EC, one member nominated by the student, and another member appointed by the Visitor.
Key Issues and Analysis
Objective of the Bill: The aim of the Bill is to promote research and teaching in Sanskrit. The bill was introduced in the parliament for the main purpose of innovatory promotions in the teaching and learning process of the Holy language of Sanskrit. Another important goal of this bill is to educate and train students and other people in the inter-disciplinary studies, research, development and preservation of knowledge in the field of Sanskrit and Traditional Projects which have a nexus to Sanskrit.
Scope: This bill seeks the dissolution of Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi, Shri Lal Bahadur Shashtri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, New Delhi and Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Tirupati and incorporates the above-mentioned universities into a single Central University. All movable, immovable property vested in the above-mentioned university was to be vested the University which is going to be set up under this Bill. All rights and liabilities of the three universities was believed to be transferred to the Central University which was set under this Act. If any person employed in the above mentioned University shall be receiving the same renumeration, shall have the same tenure and post which he or she had before the said bill becomes a law and comes into force. All the privileges enjoyed by the staff and employees in the earlier university shall be enjoyed in the set-up of the new Central University.
Provided that the Executive Council reached a consensus to change and alter posts and provisions on merit for the administration of the Central University. It is analyzed and iterated that the scope of the bill is well operational, therefore the parliament is going to take care that there is no damage or loss of job to any of the stakeholders in the previous three universities.
Definitions: The word “Statue” “Ordinance” and “Regulation” have not been defined, this could lead to the creation of a mayhem, which could require the that the Courts may interpret these words. The word “Sanskrit promotional activities “ has not been defined, it has been used in the preamble, but it has not been used in other sections, hence a prima-facie reading of the bill shows that the provisions of the bill are diverging at some points from the preamble of the bill.
Composition of the board of studies, finance committee, planning and monitoring committee, finance committee, and other university authorities
It is contended and iterated that there has been excessive delegation of powers and because it has left it to the executive council to make the statues for the composition, constitution, powers and functions of the board of studies, finance committee, and other authorities mentioned in the bill. S. 21 to 27 show excessive delegation of powers.
Other Issues and Problems: There should be a time limit placed on the visitor of the University to take decisions whenever an appeal or complaint reaches him otherwise it is possible that due to huge pile of work, the appeal or complaint might get lost, therefore it is better to place time limits. Another issue can be that there might be a delay by the Centre to give Education Grants to the University, it will be another progressive step if there is a Section added in the bill stating that it is the responsibility of the Central Government give grants proportional to the infrastructure and the maintenance of the University.
Suggestions : It is further suggested that unlike Sanskrit, there should be more Central Universities for other languages like Kannada, Telugu, and other languages which itself originate from Sanskrit, because if there is a comprehensive of languages which have originated from Sanskrit, it will itself help students to learn have an in-depth knowledge of Sanskrit.
It is therefore concluded that the Central Sanskrit University Bill is a step in the right direction where there is a need to preserve and develop the language of Sanskrit but at the same time there is a need to address the deficiency’s faced in the bill.
Authored by: Raunak Sood