NEW DELHI: Universities are autonomous bodies and there is no compulsion on them to teach any particular subject, the University Grants Commission (UGC) Wednesday said.
The UGC's comments come in the wake of a row triggered by allegations from Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU), which on Monday said the varsity was trying to impose Hindi by making it a compulsory subject at the undergraduate BA and B Tech courses.
Amid JNUSU allegations, the varsity had Tuesday asserted that it is "unfortunate" that such "misinformation" has been circulated and had said the discussion on the matter has been deferred.
The JNU had said such "irresponsible" statements are "undesirable and condemnable" and clarified that the varsity has not taken any such decision.
"Universities are autonomous bodies and any decision to teach any particular subject is up to them. There is no compulsion," said UGC Secretary Rajnish Jain.
"The idea behind the letter sent to universities in October 2018 was to seek suggestions about teaching of Hindi in universities and not to mandate it," Jain said.
JNUSU had earlier said one of the agenda items of the 151st meeting of the academic council held last Friday pertained to "making Hindi a compulsory subject at the undergraduate level for BA and BTech courses".
Referring to this, the JNU on Tuesday had clarified that the agenda item was related to discussion on a 2018 letter from UGC seeking views on Hindi as possible course in undergraduate programmes.
The CPI(M) had on Tuesday alleged that "the efforts of the UGC to "push" Hindi as a compulsory subject in undergraduate courses will stir up a hornets' nest among other linguistic groups and affect the unity of the country".
Earlier this month, amid a controversy over the recommendation of an HRD Ministry panel to teach Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states, a revised draft education policy was issued by the Ministry that did not have a mention of the language being compulsory.
The DMK and other parties in Tamil Nadu had strongly opposed the three-language formula in the draft National Education Policy and alleged that it was tantamount to thrusting the Hindi language.