A few days ago, an admission notification issued by an institution run by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) triggered a row as it excluded Tamil literature candidates from being eligible for a course.

ASI language row: Madras HC asks Union govt to identify, take action against officerWiki Commons/By Milei.vencel - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
news Court Saturday, October 10, 2020 - 10:34

The Madras High Court issued a notice to the Union government on Friday on the controversy around eligibility of MA Tamil literature graduates to apply for a PG Diploma course in Archaeology. An admission notification issued by Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology (run by the Archaeological Survey of India) triggered a row around exclusion of candidates who had passed MA-Tamil literature, as per a report.

The court has now asked the Union government to identify the officer who was in charge of drafting the notification and submit a report on the action that has been taken against the officer. 

A few days ago, Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology, an institution run by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) issued an admission notification for its PG Diploma in Archaeology course. In its notification, the college had stated that candidates who have a Masters degree in ancient or medieval Indian history/archaeology or Indian classical languages like Sanskrit, Pali, Arabic, Prakrit or Persian were only eligible to apply for this course. The notification triggered a row as it left out graduates who had a Masters degree in Tamil literature. The outrage prompted the concerned authorities to reissue the notification, this time specifying that candidates with a masters degree in any classical language would be eligible to apply for the course.

Meanwhile, an advocate from Sivaganga district in Tamil Nadu, S Ramesh Kumar, filed a petition in the Madras High Court, seeking addition of post graduation in Tamil as one of the eligibility criteria for the course. In response to this petition, the government responded that a corrigendum has been issued by the institute amending the eligibility criteria to include postgraduate degrees in all classical languages notified by the union government.

However, when the case came up for hearing on Friday, a Bench consisting of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice B Pugalendhi sought to know the officer behind the initial admission notification, who had left out MA-Tamil literature as one of the eligible qualifications to apply for the course. The judges refused to believe that it was an inadvertent error and directed the Union government to identify the officer who had done it and submit a report. The court also asked the government to specify what action it has taken against the erring officer. Adding that careless officers end up strengthening the voices of chauvinistic elements, the judges remarked that the notification error displayed the incompetence of the officer.