Don’t Intend To Restrict “Freedom Of Speech” In Universities: Prakash Javadekar

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No intention to put any restriction on freedom of speech in universities: Prakash Javadekar

New Delhi:

The Minister of Human Resource Development today said that his government have neither put any restrictions nor intend to put any restrictions on "freedom of speech" in JNU, Delhi University or any other University in the country. The response from the Union HRD Minister came after teachers from both Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University have accused his ministry and the higher education regulator University Grants Commission (UGC) of meddling in their democratic rights through some circulars.

Recently, the Delhi University Teachers Association or DUTA has described a circular sent by UGC to bring their services under ESMA act as a 'vicious attack on the academic community's intellectual autonomy and the violation of its moral prerogative to nurture free thinking and democratic values'.

"We have neither put any restrictions nor intend to put any restrictions on "Freedom of Speech" in JNU, Delhi University or any other University," Mr Javadekar said in a tweet.

We have neither put any restrictions nor intend to put any restrictions on "Freedom of Speech" in JNU, Delhi University or any other University.#[email protected]

– Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) October 20, 2018

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Earlier today, an official from HRD Ministry had also clarified that there is no such proposal to bring Delhi University under ESMA.

"The suggestion to ban strikes in the examination services came from some affected students during the DUTA strike. We have examined it and are not going ahead with the suggestion," R Subrahmanyam IAS, Secretary, Higher Education, said in a tweet.

There is no such proposal to bring Delhi University under ESMA. The suggestion to ban strikes in the examination services came from some affected students during the DUTA strike. We have examined it and are not going ahead with the suggestion. Kindly clarify to readers.

– R. Subrahmanyam (@subrahyd) October 20, 2018

In first week of October, JNUTA, the Teachers Association in Delhi's JNU had also criticized the authorities after the University's academic council discussed a proposal to place teachers under the Conduct of Central Services Rules, which would restrict them for making public statements against the administration.

The JNUTA said the rules apply to government servants and prohibit them from being "a member of, or be otherwise associated with, any political party or any organisation which takes part in politics".

Some other rules prohibit government servant from resorting to strike or coercion, canvassing in election and there are other similar rules.

Under these rules, economics professors can be punished for discussing economic policy, political scientists can be punished for discussing politics and environmental science professors can be punished for discussing environmental policy and scientists can be punished for discussing government science policy, the JNUTA said.

"All educationist can be punished for expressing their views on educational policy. The very role that academics are supposed to play in the classroom and in civil society, has become criminalised," it said.

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