ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Right to Invite Foreign Scholars

Right to Invite Foreign Scholars A G Noorani THE curbs On the visits to India of foreign scholars is now a decade and a half old. Its absurdities are known to all who are concerned with the matter. The lay public knew little of the petty curbs, pettily executed. They did the name of India no good. Devsagar Singh's report in Indian Express of June 7, ought to bestir our civil liberties bodies and indeed citizens who take an informed interest in civil liberties: "The Government of India has put new restrictions on the appointment of foreign nationals in Indian universities, their research programme and movement into sensitive areas. All the universities have been asked to keep a strict vigil on their activities and implement the guidelines of the government strictly." He amplified: "Appointments of foreign nationals could be made only in very exceptional circumstances after obtaining prior clearance of the government ... Even for inviting a foreign scholar as visiting professor, universities will now be required to obtain prior permission of the government." Nor is this all. "In case a university proposes to organise an international seminar or symposium, it will have to furnish to the government a detailed note on the theme of the conference, level of participation, name of the countries and their scholars as also the source of funding. The government will have the right to refuse permission!' Subjects like defence, "themes which are politically sensitive" and the like are barred as subjects for research. If foreigners come on a tourist visa they must not conduct research. Lastly, "foreign scholars have also been debarred from delivering an/lecture or talk on topics of controversial nature".

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