Cutting across party lines, the members of the Rajya Sabha on Monday came in support of the Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, 2019 and passed it by a voice vote.
The Bill to centralize three deemed-to-be Sanskrit Universities was cleared by the Lok Sabha during the 2019 Winter Session on December 12.
Minister of Human Resource Development, Ramesh Pokhriyal had introduced the Bill to convert Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan in New Delhi; Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, also in New Delhi and Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth in Tirupati, into Central Sanskrit Universities.
This move, the Minister said, would enhance the status of these Universities and will give a boost to Post Graduate, Doctoral and Post Doctoral education and Research in the field of Sanskrit and Shastraic education.
It will also help in enhancing the opportunities for imparting education in the field of Indian Philosophy, Yoga, Ayurveda and Naturopathy, he said.
During discussion on the Bill, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh, BJD's Prashant Nanda and AITC's Sukhendu Shekhar expressed support for the Bill with certain reservations. However, M. Shanmugam of DMK opposed the Bill, stating that it was against classical languages like Tamil.
On a similar note, calling Sanskrit a "dead language" DMK's Vaiko also opposed the bill saying that it will jeopardize not only South Indian languages but also Punjabi and Odia.
Establishment of the Universities
The Universities will be established as a body corporate with an object to disseminate and advance knowledge by providing instructional, research and extension facilities to the promotion of Sanskrit Language.
They will be responsible to take appropriate measures for promoting innovations in teaching-learning process and to educate and train manpower for the overall development of the subject.
Powers and functions of the University
As per Section 6 of the Bill, the Universities will be empowered and obliged to (i) prescribe courses of study and conducting training programmes; (ii) award degrees, diplomas and certificates, (iii) provide facilities of teaching through distance learning/ online education system, (iv) confer autonomous status on a college or an institution, (v) provide instructions for education in Sanskrit and allied subjects, (vi) institute fellowship, scholarships, etc.
Each University will have the following authorities
Dispute and Appeals
Any student whose name has been removed from the rolls of the University by the orders or resolution of the Vice-Chancellor, Discipline Committee or Examination Committee, or who has been debarred from appearing at the examinations of the University for more than one year may appeal against the same to the Executive Council, within ten days of the date of receipt of such orders.
Any dispute arising out of any disciplinary action taken by the University against a student may be referred to a Tribunal of Arbitration, at the request of the student.
Disputes arising out of the contract between an employee and the University may also be referred to the Tribunal, which will consist of (i) one member appointed by the Executive Council, (ii) one member nominated by the employee or student concerned, and (iii) an umpire appointed by the Visitor of the University, i.e. the President of India.
Since the Bill has been passed by the Upper House with some amendments, it will now be sent back to Lok Sabha.