The Supreme Court issued notice on Tuesday to the Delhi University Vice-Chancellor on a petition seeking a directive to place before the University's Academic Council the views of an expert committee the university constituted to go into the allegations of distortion and derogatory portrayal of characters in the Ramayana book prescribed for B.A. History (Honours).
A Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and Anil R. Dave issued the notice on the petition filed by Dina Nath Batra and others, including lecturers, a former Ambassador, a Pro-Vice Chancellor, a principal and a journalist, who in 2008 questioned the prescription for the course of Three Hundred Ramayanas, written by A.K. Ramanujan and which contained “derogatory and objectionable references” to Hanuman, Lakshmana and Sita.
In September 2008, the court asked the committee to go into the allegations, and said that after the report was submitted, the Vice-Chancellor would hear out Mr. Batra. The court had said Mr. Batra would be at liberty to contact the Vice-Chancellor and give his views or evidence or material in support of his stand. The Vice-Chancellor would submit the expert committee's report and the petitioner's views to the Academic Council for a final decision.
Appearing for the petitioners, senior counsel M. N. Krishnamani submitted on Tuesday that the Vice-Chancellor did not place before the Academic Council Mr. Batra's views and the committee's report. The controversial and “blasphemous” article of Professor Ramanujan that “polluted the minds of students” was still being retained as the reading material, he said.
Mr. Krishnamani said the article distorted the epic to hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus who worship the characters in the epic as gods and goddesses. By prescribing the textbook, the university had wounded Hindu sentiments.
In his fresh petition, Mr. Batra said that in the present circumstances it was necessary that the Vice-Chancellor and the Academic Council should be directed to take a decision within this academic session so that the book could be dropped from the syllabus.