Increasing western influence and modernisation has resulted in abandonment of the use of Sanskrit. Sanskrit is no longer spoken as the first language in India. Therefore, the revival and promulgation of Sanskrit is essential.
Before the enactment of the Central Sanskrit Universities Act of 2000, three deemed-to-be Sanskrit Universities existed in India. The commission of this Bill converted the universities into a Central Sanskrit University for the preservation and promotion of the all-important language linking ancient and medieval South Asia.
Sanskrit is the sacred language of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism and is a classical language of Indo-Aryan origin. In addition to Ancient Greek and Hittite, Sanskrit is among the three earliest documented languages.
The Central Sanskrit Universities Act 2020 is an legislation for the preservation and propagation of Sanskrit language and literature.
The Central University is the nodal agency for implementing Sanskrit-related policies and schemes of the Government of India.
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Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, 2019
Before the Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, the following three institutions were regarded as Sanskrit Universities:
- Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi
- Shri Lal Bahadur Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, New Delhi
- Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Tirupati
The Bill led to the formation of Central Universities for the efficient development of Sanskrit. According to the Bill, the Central Universities will prescribe the courses and award degrees. The appropriate operation of each university will be overseen by six authorities. Some of these authorities are legislative, whereas others are executive in nature.
Per the Bill, the President of India has the authority to name individuals to inspect, assess, and examine the functioning of the Universities. The appropriate authority will act as per the findings of the inspection.
The Bill’s schedule incorporates statutes that would outline the establishment, composition, and powers of the authorities.
Procedures to be followed concerning disputes and appeals are as follows:
- A student may appeal to the Executive Council if he/she is prohibited from taking any examination.
- Any student or candidate may appeal to the Executive Council if their name has been removed from the University.
- Any tribunal would have the final say in any disagreement stemming from disciplinary action by the University against a student.
- Additionally, the tribunal can hear contract disagreements between employees and the University.
Objectives of the Universities as Per the Central Sanskrit Universities Act
Section 5 of the Central Universities Act provides the following list of objectives:
- Spread and develop knowledge of Sanskrit
- Provide resources for instruction, research, and outreach to advance Sanskrit.
- Include integrated arts, social sciences, and scientific courses in its educational programs with specific consideration.
- Implement necessary strategies for fostering innovations in the teaching–learning process and interdisciplinary research and study.
- Build and train a workforce for the general advancement, promotion, preservation, and study of Sanskrit and related traditional Sanskrit subjects.
Establishment of Central Universities
Section 3 of the Central Universities Act provides for the establishment of Universities.
- The Act established the following three Central Universities:
- The Central Sanskrit University, New Delhi.
- Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri National Sanskrit University, New Delhi.
- The National Sanskrit University, Tirupati.
- Each University shall have an Academic and Executive Council, Chancellor, and Vice-Chancellor.
- The University maintains all officers and members in the specified positions throughout their tenure.
- Features of the University include – perpetual succession, a common seal, and the ability to sue and to be sued.
Functions of the Central Universities
Section 6 of the Central Universities Act specifies the functions of the Central Universities. The list is as follows:
- Imparting knowledge in academic fields such as Sanskrit and Sanskrit-oriented subjects.
- Awarding degrees, diplomas, certificates, or honorary diplomas to the deserving candidates after conducting necessary evaluation.
- Imparting Sanskrit instruction in schools and at the university level.
- Providing higher education (according to the University) in diverse fields, including Indian philosophy, Ayurveda, Sanskrit literature, Pali-Prakrit, yoga, and naturopathy.
- Creating numerous academic, administrative, and governmental roles and designation individuals to such positions.
- Recognising or even revoking recognition of institutes of higher learning for University-determined purposes.
- Promoting ongoing Sanskrit education through refresher courses, workshops, and seminars.
- Ascertaining suitability for enrollment at the University.
- Requesting and collecting fees payment as necessary.
- Maintaining order and enforcing discipline among university personnel and students.
- Establishing new campuses in India or overseas to advance the Act’s goals.
Authorities of the Central University
Section 19 of the Central Universities Act establishes six authorities for the University.
1: The Court
The statutes specify the composition and term of office for its members [Section 20]. The statutes specify the members to be selected among the University’s faculty, staff, and students. The Court has the following duties and powers:
- Examine board policies and programs and recommend actions for improving and developing the University.
- Advise visitors on any subject.
- Evaluate the University’s annual report and accounts and pass resolutions regarding audit report on those accounts.
- Perform any additional task mandated by law.
2: The Executive Council
The Executive Council (Section 21) is the principal executive body. The Council periodically creates new or additional statutes and changes or repeals existing statutes.
The Statutes specify electing the Executive Council and setting the tenure with respective roles and responsibilities.
- The Executive Council is headed by the University’s Vice-Chancellor, who serves as Chairman (Ex-Officio).
- The Joint Secretary (Languages) from the Ministry of Education is an Ex-Officio Member of the Council.
- The Registrar of the University is as the Ex-Officio Secretary.
- Additionally, five members are appointed for fixed tenures.
3: The Academic Council
The academic body of the University is the Academic Council (Section 22) and oversees the University’s education policies and coordinates them. The statutes outline the Council’s structure, the tenure of its members, and its duties.
- The Vice-Chancellor of the University is appointed as the Chairperson of the Academic Council.
- All the Deans of different schools of study within the University are members of the authority.
- The Heads of Departments and Directors of Centres are responsible for performing significant functions of the Council.
- Two professors, other than Heads of Departments, are nominated by the Vice-Chancellor (as per seniority).
- Three people (excluding the employees of the University who are nominated by the Vice-Chancellor) on the recommendation of the Academic Council.
- The Registrar of the University is the Secretary of the Academic Council.
4: The Board of Studies
The statute specifies the constitution, powers, and duties of authority (Section 23).
- The Board of Studies is headed by a Chairman (Ex-Officio).
- The Board consists of several members appointed based on merit.
5: The Finance Committee
The Finance Committee’s duties and responsibilities are outlined in the statute, containing the committee’s constitution (Section 24).
- The Finance Committee is headed by a Chairman (Ex-Officio).
- The Vice Chancellor of the Central Sanskrit University is appointed as the Chairman.
- The Finance Officer of the University is appointed as the Ex-Officio Secretary.
- The Court nominates one permanent member, three temporary members, and one member to perform various functions of this authority.
6: The Planning and Monitoring Board
The statutes specify the Board’s structure, powers, and duties (Section 25).
- The Board is headed by the Vice Chancellor of the University, who serves as the Chairperson.
- The Executive Council nominates the three internal members.
- Three eminent educationists having special knowledge of University planning are appointed.
- The Finance Officer of the Central Sanskrit University is also a member of the Board.
- The Registrar of the Central University serves as the Ex-Officio Member Secretary.
The Central Sanskrit Universities Act 2020 positively affected the dissemination of the Sanskrit language in today’s society. Even though the Act has been implemented only for a couple of years, sufficient statistical evidence suggests success of legislation.
India is a diverse country with several languages and dialects, most of which can trace their roots to Sanskrit. Thus, people need to make more effort to learn, converse, and propagate the language to prevent its extinction.
What are the University's functions as per the Central Sanskrit Universities Act?
The Central Sanskrit University's primary responsibilities include the following:
- Establishing a curriculum.
- Running training programs.
- Awarding degrees, diplomas, and certificates.
- Offering facilities through a distance education program.
- Granting a college or institution autonomy.
What are the university authorities under the Central Sanskrit Universities Act?
Several distinct bodies govern the University, including the Court, the Executive Council, the Academic and Activity Council, the Board of Studies, the Finance Committee, and the Planning and Monitoring Board.
Who is the Visitor of the Central University?
The President of India is the Visitor of the University, and the President can name individuals to inspect, assess, and examine the functioning of the Universities.
What is the procedure to be followed in a dispute regarding disciplinary action taken by the University against any student?
In such a circumstance, the aggrieved student can approach a Tribunal of Arbitration for relief. The tribunal may review the University's decision and make amendments as required.