SC issues notice to Centre on Astrology course

The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the central government on the issue of introducing Jyotir Vigyan (Astrology) courses in various universities. The court has asked the Centre to reply why courses based on Vedic rituals should be introduced in Indian universities.

The University Grants Commission had issued a circular asking various universities to introduce astrology and Vedic ritual courses like Karam Kand and Purohitya, which train a person to be a priest. The UGC move has come under severe flak from scientists and academicians all over India.

A scientist from Andhra Pradesh, PM Bhargava, had filed a writ petition against Vedic courses in Supreme Court. He had earlier filed a writ petition in Andhra Pradesh high court, which had dismissed his petition observing that there could be two opinions among experts on whether Vedic courses were scientific or not. The petitioner's lawyer, Prashant Bhushan, talking about the grounds on which they moved the apex court said, "All the scientists in this country are unanimous in saying that the Vedic courses have no scientific basis.

Further, including such courses in the scientific curriculum would send a wrong message to the people."

Bhushan added that the move to introduce such courses was designed to promote the Hindutva agenda of the government. From a legal point of view, Bhushan contended that since the right to education is a fundamental right, using funds allocated for 'real' education to promote Vedic education would have an adverse impact on the general education being provided.

The move to introduce Vedic course had come under severe flak on Sunday in a meeting of various non-NDA parties. A resolution was also adopted at the meeting, which stressed the need for the education policy to be consistent with secular, scientific and democratic values enshrined in the Constitution of India.

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Referred by: Benjamin P Kaila
Published on:3 Sep, 2001
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