DU council to discuss proposal to introduce Manusmriti in LLB, teachers' body opposes

The Faculty of Law has sought approval from the highest decision-making body of Delhi University (DU) to revise the syllabus of its first and third-year students to teach them 'Manusmriti'.
Delhi University
Delhi University (File Photo)

NEW DELHI: A proposal to teach Manusmriti (Laws of Manu) to Delhi University's LLB students is slated to be discussed in a meeting of its Academic Council on Friday, a move which has drawn criticism from a section of teachers.

The Faculty of Law has sought approval from the highest decision-making body of Delhi University (DU) to revise the syllabus of its first and third-year students to teach them 'Manusmriti'.

The changes in the syllabus of the jurisprudence paper pertain to semesters one and six of LLB.

According to the revisions, two readings on Manusmriti -- Manusmriti with the Manubhasya of Medhatithi by G N Jha and Commentary of Manu Smriti - Smritichandrika by T Kristnasawmi Iyer -- are proposed to be introduced for the students.

The decision to suggest the revisions was unanimously approved in a June 24 meeting of the faculty's Course Committee headed by its dean Anju Vali Tikoo, according to the minutes of the meeting.

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Objecting to the move, the Left-backed Social Democratic Teachers Front (SDTF) has written to DU Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh stating that the manuscript propagates a "regressive" outlook towards the rights of women and the marginalised communities and that it is against a "progressive education system".

In a letter to Singh, SDTF general secretary S S Barwal and chairperson S K Sagar said recommending Manusmriti to students as a suggested reading "is highly objectionable as this text is adverse to the progress and education of women and marginalised communities in India".

"In Manusmriti, in several sections, it opposes women's education and equal rights.

Introduction of any section or part of Manusmriti is against the basic structure of our Constitution and principles of Indian Constitution," the letter read.

The SDTF demanded that the proposal be immediately withdrawn and it should not be approved in the Academic Council's meeting scheduled to be held on July 12.

It further requested the vice-chancellor to issue an order to the law faculty and the concerned staff members to continue teaching the paper jurisprudence based on the existing syllabus.

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