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The Constitution

The Constitution: As embodied in the Government of India, Ministry of Education Resolution No. F.6-4/51 G 2(A) dated the 15th December, 1952 and as amended from time to time.

1. National Academy of Letters

Whereas it is considered expedient to establish a national organisation to work actively for the development of Indian letters and to set high literary standards to foster and co-ordinate literary activities in all the Indian languages and to promote through them all the cultural unity of the country, it is hereby resolved as follows:

  • A National Academy of Letters, to be called “Sahitya Akademi” shall be established.

2. Headquarters

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3. Organization and Function

(a). The Akademi shall be a corporate body, shall have a perpetual seal and may sue and be sued in its corporate name.

(b). It shall have the following powers and functions namely:

  1. to promote co-operation among men of letters for the development of literature in Indian languages;
  2. to encourage or to arrange translations of literary works from one Indian language into others and also from non-Indian into Indian languages and vice-versa;
  3. to publish or to assist associations and individuals in publishing literary works including bibliographies, dictionaries, encyclopaedias, basic vocabularies etc. in various Indian languages;
  4. to sponsor or to hold literary conferences, seminars and exhibitions on all-India or regional basis;
  5. to award prizes and distinctions and give recognition to individual writers for outstanding work;
  6. to promote research in Indian languages and literature;
  7. to promote the teachings and study of regional languages and literature in areas beyond their own;
  8. to encourage propagation and study of literature among the masses;
  9. (a) to improve and develop the various scripts in which the languages of the country are written;
    (b) to promote the use of Devanagari script and to encourage publication in that script of select books in any Indian language;
    (c) to publish, if found necessary, standard books of one Indian language in the scripts of other languages;
  10. to promote cultural exchanges with other countries and to establish relations with international organisations in the field of letters;
  11. to receive grants, bequests and other donations, to purchase land, own property of all kinds and to maintain, sell, mortgage or otherwise dispose of it in furtherance of its works; and
  12. to do all such other acts and things whether incidental to powers aforesaid or not as may be required in order to further its objects.

4. Officers of the Akademi

The following shall be the officers of the Akademi:

  1. President,
  2. Vice President,
  3. Financial Adviser, and
  4. Secretary

5. President

The President shall be elected by the new General Council from a panel of a maximum of three persons to be forwarded by the Executive Board. The Executive Board shall select the panel from the names forwarded by the outgoing General Council.

The President shall continue in office until the election of the new President by the new General Council at its first meeting.

The President shall have the power to take a decision on behalf of the General Council or the Executive Board when circumstances so warrant subject to ratification by the respective authority at its next meeting.

6. Vice President

  1. The Vice President shall be elected by the General Council of the Akademi from among its members.
  2. The Vice President shall, in the absence of the President for whatever reason, exercise all the functions and powers of the President.

7. Financial Adviser

  1. The Financial Adviser shall be appointed by the Government of India.
  2. The Financial Adviser shall:
    (a) be responsible for the preparation of the annual estimates and statements of accounts for their presentation to the Executive Board and the General Council;
    (b) subject to the general supervision and control of the Executive Board, be responsible for watching the utilisation of all moneys for the purpose for which they are granted or allotted; and
    (c) exercise such other powers and functions as may be assigned to him by the Executive Board.

8. Secretary

  1. The Secretary shall be the principal executive officer of the Akademi and he shall be appointed by the Executive Board for such period and on such terms and conditions as the Executive Board may determine.
  2. The Secretary shall be ex-officio Secretary of the General Council, the Executive Board, the Finance Committee and all other standing committees which may be set up by the General Council or the Executive Board but shall not be deemed to be member of any of the authorities.
  3. It shall be the duty of the Secretary:

(a) to be the custodian of the records and, subject to the general supervision and control of the Executive Board, to manage the property and funds of the Akademi for the purpose for which they are granted or allotted;
(b) to conduct the official correspondence on behalf of the authorities of the Akademi;
(c) to issue all notices convening meetings of the authorities of the Akademi and all committees appointed by any of these authorities;
(d) to keep the minutes of all meetings of the authorities of the Akademi and of all committees appointed by any of these authorities;
(e) to maintain the accounts of the Akademi under the supervision of the Financial Adviser; and
(f) to execute all contracts on behalf of the Akademi.

9. Authorities of the Akademi

The following shall be the authorities of the Akademi:

  1. General Council,
  2. Executive Board,
  3. Finance Committee, and
  4. any other standing committee or committees which the General Council or the Executive Board may set up for discharging one or more of their functions.

10. General Council

The General Council shall consist of the following:

  1. The President;
  2. The Financial Adviser;
  3. Five persons nominated by the Government of India of whom one each shall be a representative of the Department of Culture, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the National Book Trust and two shall be other nominees;
  4. One person from each of the States/Union Territories enumerated in the Constitution of India, as nominated by the outgoing General Council from a panel of a maximum of three names recommended by the State/UT Akademies and where there are no State/UT Akademies or where there are more than one State/UT Akademi, by the State Government/ UT administration;
           The nominees shall be eminent persons in the field of letters and not necessarily functionaries of the Government or the Union Territory administration;
  5. One person to represent each of the languages enumerated in the Constitution of India and any other such language which may be recognized by the Akademi from time to time. The person shall be nominated by the outgoing General Council from a panel of a maximum of three names recommended by the respective recognized Literary Associations from amongst the list of such recognized Associations maintained by the Akademi which shall be final and conclusive in this regard.
  6. One person to represent each of a maximum of 20 Universities having PG Department in Humanities. These 20 names shall be selected by the outgoing General Council from the recommendations received from any University having a PG Department in Humanities;
           No University shall be represented for two successive terms;
           Each of the 20 persons selected shall be from a different University and each of the Universities so represented shall be from a different State and/or Union Territory;
  7. Not more than eight persons eminent in the field of letters to be selected in their individual capacity by the outgoing General Council;
  8. One representative each of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the Lalit Kala Akademi and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations as nominated by the respective organisation;
  9. One representative of Indian Publishers as selected by the outgoing General Council on the basis of recommendations received from various Publishers’ Associations of India;
  10. One representative of the Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation as nominated by the Foundation;
  11. No one shall be a member of the General Council for more than two terms with the proviso that the two terms shall not be consecutive and that this rule shall apply to all the members nominated in all categories except ex-officio members and eminent writers under clause (vii) above.

The General Council shall continue for five calendar years and the expiration of the period of five calendar years shall operate as a dissolution of the General Council.

11. Functions of the General Council

The General Council shall have the following functions and powers namely:

  1. to elect the President in accordance with para 5;
  2. to elect the Vice President from among its members;
  3. to elect members of the Executive Board in accordance with paragraph 13(v) and to prescribe the rules of procedure of the Executive Board;
  4. to elect members of the Finance Committee in accordance with paragraph 15 (iii) and to prescribe the rules of procedure of the Finance Committee;
  5. to approve the annual budget and annual accounts of the Akademi recommended by the Executive Board;
  6. to elect the representatives of States/UTs, languages, Universities, Publishers and nominate eight eminent persons as prescribed in clauses (iv), (v), (vi), (vii) and (ix) of para 10 respectively;
  7. to consider and approve programmes and specific projects proposed by the Executive Board;
  8. to elect on the recommendation of the Executive Board;
    (a) Literary persons of outstanding merit as Fellows of the Akademi, provided that the number of such Fellows shall at no time exceed twenty-one;
    (b) Honorary Fellows of the Akademi from among literary persons of outstanding merit who are not nationals of India provided that the number of such Honorary Fellows shall at no time exceed ten; and
  9. to frame its own rules, regulations, bye-laws and rules of procedure.

12. Meeting of the General Council

The General Council shall ordinarily meet once every year at a place and on a date to be fixed by the President. A special meeting may be called at any other time by the President or by the Executive Board either on its own initiative or at the request of not less than two-thirds of the whole number of members of the General Council.

13. Executive Board

The Executive Board shall consist of the following members, namely:

  1. The President;
  2. The Vice President;
  3. The Financial Adviser;
  4. Two members nominated by the Government of India from among their nominees on the General Council : one representative from the Ministry of Culture and one other nominee;
  5. One person to represent each of the languages enumerated in the Constitution of India and such other languages as may be recognised by the Akademi elected by the General Council from among its members.

The President may, at his discretion, invite to any meeting of the Executive Board a member of the General Council in the interest of encouraging languages other than those referred to in the preceding sentence and involving them more closely with the activities of the Akademi.

14. Functions of the Executive Board

The Executive Board shall have the following powers and functions namely:

  1. to exercise the executive authority of the Akademi subject to policy directives of the General Council;
  2. to be responsible for the supervision and control of work of the Akademi and its office;
  3. to consider and prepare projects for submission to the General Council;
  4. to draw up the annual budget of the Akademi after considering recommendations of the Finance Committee to be submitted for approval of the General Council;
  5. on the recommendation of the Finance Committee, shall consider the budget estimates and annual accounts of the Akademi, make recommendations thereon to the General Council;

  6. to consider and propose to the General Council names of literary persons of outstanding merit to be elected as Fellows and Honorary Fellows of the Akademi; and

  7. to appoint the Secretary of the Akademi and other members of the staff except those the power to appoint whom is delegated to the Secretary.

15. Finance Committee

The Finance Committee shall consist of the following members, namely:

  1. The Financial Adviser;
  2. One nominee of the Government of India not necessarily from among the members of the General Council;
  3. One representative of the General Council (other than the Vice President) of the Akademi;
  4. One nominee of the Executive Board not necessarily from among members of the General Council; and
  5. The Vice President of the Akademi who shall be the ex-officio Chairperson of the Finance Committee.

16. Functions of the Finance Committee

The Finance Committee shall consider the budget estimates of the Akademi, make recommendations thereon to the Executive Board and prescribe the limit for total expenditure within a financial year.

17. Audit

The accounts of the Akademi shall be audited by the Auditor General of India.

18. General

  1. Any rule made or decision taken by the General Council or by any authority of the Akademi except where the authority acts in accordance with its powers and functions as defined in this Resolution may be amended or set aside by the General Council.
  2. The General Council may by a majority of not less than three-fourths of the members present and voting amend this Constitution in such manner as the General Council may decide except that no amendments to the objects of the Sahitya Akademi shall be deemed to have been duly passed without the approval of the Government of India.
  3. All casual vacancies among the members (other than ex-officio members) of the General Council or any other body of the Akademi shall be filled as soon as it is convenient by the existing person or body and the person appointed, elected or co-opted to a casual vacancy shall be a member of such authority or body for the residue of the term for which the person whose place he fills would have been a member.
  4. No act or proceeding of the General Council or Executive Board or Finance Committee shall be invalid by reason only of the existence of any vacancy amongst its members or any defect in its Constitution.
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