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HRD Ministry Denies Rumours of Bringing Delhi University Under ESMA

ESMA is invoked to ensure that people do not suffer during strikes in academic institutions due to disruption of essential services such as public transport, health and sanitation.

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Updated:October 20, 2018, 11:23 AM IST
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HRD Ministry Denies Rumours of Bringing Delhi University Under ESMA
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New Delhi: There is no proposal to bring Delhi University under the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), the Ministry of Human Resource Development has clarified.

Responding to reports in media, the Higher Education Secretary R Subrahmanyam posted on social media: "There is no such proposal to bring Delhi University under the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA)."

He added that there was a suggestion but the authorities decided not to go ahead with it. "The suggestion to ban strikes in the examination services came from some affected students during the Delhi University Teachers' Association strike. We have examined it and are not going ahead with the suggestion," he posted on social media.

The HRD Ministry was criticised by some sections in academia for setting up a working group for the purpose of assessing the relevance of the Delhi University Act, 1922 in present times, and amend it to explore possibilities of application of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to teaching, learning, exams and evaluation in the university.

Earlier this year, Delhi University teachers went on a strike during evaluation time. It was seen as harming the academic culture on campus. It affected the classwork, exams and evaluation.

ESMA is invoked to ensure that people do not suffer during strikes in academic institutions due to disruption of essential services such as public transport, health and sanitation.

Its implementation in Delhi University could lead to severe action including arrest or fine against protesting teachers. According to earlier reports On 4 October, the Ministry of Human Resource Development directed setting up of a committee to examine the feasibility of bringing exam/teaching/learning/evaluation in the university under ESMA. This required amendment of Delhi University Act to include provisions of ESMA.

Under ESMA Clause (VIII), one can be arrested “for instigation” even “without warrant”. Clause (V) of ESMA states clearly that such an Act “shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees or both”.

The move was condemned by academics as suppressing dissent and against the idea of university itself.



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