Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar.image courtesy:The Statesman

Days after a Class XII Physical Education textbook stating that body measurements of 36-24-36 were the best figures for women sparked widespread outrage, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has filed a case in the Preet Vihar police station against the private publisher of the book and the author.

The accused — New Saraswati House (India) Pvt Ltd, which published the book titled Health and Physical Education and the author Dr V.K. Sharma — have been booked under Section 6 (indecent representation of women (Prohibition) Act 1986) and relevant sections of the IPC, the police said Dr. Sharma is a professor in the Department of Physical Education, DAV College, Cheeka (Kaithal) in Haryana.

Taking strong umbrage to a CBSE text book holding “36-24-36 shape of females to be the best”, Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday directed action in the matter.

There has been outrage after the text book’s contents went viral on social media. Javadekar said officers concerned have been told to take appropriate action and said the government will ensure that CBSE schools follow books published only by the NCERT.

“Such sexist contents are absolutely unacceptable and highly condemnable. This is not a NCERT book, rather from a private publisher.

That is why we have been asking CBSE schools not to use books by private publishers,” he told the media here. “Officers have been instructed to take take strict action against those behind this textbook,” he said, adding the ministry may seek criminal action against the author and publisher of the book.

The CBSE said that it does not recommend books by any private publishers to affiliate schools. The book of the private publisher was recommended by the schools themselves and the contents of the book are not compliant with the prescribed CBSE syllabus, said a statement by the board.

In its clarification, the board said it has not prescribed the book and CBSE neither subscribes nor encourages “irrelevant, sexist or derogatory references to any gender specially women”.

The Board had also set up a committee to check the contents of the book and the members concluded that the text was not in consonance with the spirit of the syllabus.

“The publisher and the author have committed criminal misconduct by publishing and selling these books to the students in connivance with some schools. In the process, the publisher has caused wrongful loss of reputation, goodwill and credibility of CBSE,” contended the board.

CBSE said the class 12 curriculum of physical education is designed to meet certain objectives which promote health and fitness amongst youth. “The curriculum includes topics among others such as sports and nutrition, yoga and lifestyle, physiology, psychology, training, bio-mechanics and sports etc.,” it said.

This isn’t the first time the CBSE has been caught in such a controversy. In the past, too, among many such examples, one of the books for Class 6 said meat-eaters cheat, lie and commit sex crimes.