The Faculty of Law at Delhi University has proposed to introduce the Manusmriti to its Bachelor of Laws syllabus, The Indian Express reported on Thursday.

Manusmriti is a Hindu scripture authored by a medieval ascetic named Manu. The text has been widely criticised for its gender and caste-based codes, among other topics.

The revised syllabus with two lessons on the Manusmriti will be tabled before the Delhi University Academic Council for Academic Matters on Friday. If approved, they will likely be included in the law faculty’s upcoming academic session that starts in August.

The readings to be included are the literary works Manusmriti With the Manubhasya of Medhatithi by GN Jha and Commentary of Manu Smriti - Smritichandrika by T Kristnasawmi Iyer, according to PTI.

Professor Anju Vali Tikoo, the dean of the Faculty of Law at Delhi University, told The Indian Express that the Manusmriti was being added to the syllabus in line with the 2020 National Education Policy to “introduce Indian perspectives into learning”.

“The unit under which it has been introduced in itself is an analytical unit,” Tikoo said. “Hence, in order to bring in more perspective for the student to compare and understand analytical positivism, this step has been taken.”

Tikoo had chaired a meeting of the faculty’s course committee on June 24 where the proposal to teach the Manusmriti to law students was unanimously approved, PTI reported.

The Social Democratic Teachers Front, a collective of university teachers, on Wednesday wrote to Vice Chancellor Yogesh Singh, saying: “…it has come to [our] knowledge that Manusmriti has been recommended to the students as ‘suggested readings’ which is highly objectionable as this text is adverse to the progress and education of women and marginalised communities”.

“In the country, 85 per cent of the population belongs to the marginalised and 50 per cent of the population is women,” the letter said, according to the newspaper. “Their progress depends on a progressive education system and teaching pedagogy, not regressive. In Manusmriti, in several sections, it opposed women’s education and equal rights.”

The introduction of any section or part of Manusmriti is “against the basic structure of our Constitution and principles of Indian Constitution”, the collective said.