The Constitution: The Sahitya Akademi was established under a Government of India Resolution No. F.6-4/51 G 2(A) dated 15th December 1952 in which the Constitution of the Akademi was originally embodied. The Akademi functions as an autonomous organization, and the power to amend its Constitution vests in the General Council of the Akademi. This power has been exercised from time to time. The Constitution, as amended so far, is given below.
National Academy of Letters
Whereas it is considered expedient to establish a national organization 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:
1. A National Academy of Letters, to be called "Sahitya Akademi" shall be established.
The headquarters of the Akademi shall be at New Delhi but they may be transferred to another place by a resolution supported by three-fourths of the whole number of members of the General Council.
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:
- to promote co-operation among men of letters for the development of literature in Indian languages;
- 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;
- to publish or to assist associations and individuals in publishing literary works including bibliographies, dictionaries, encyclopedias, basic vocabularies etc. in various Indian languages;
- to sponsor or to hold literary conferences, seminars and exhibitions on all-India or regional basis;
- to award prizes and distinctions and give recognition to individual writers for outstanding work;
- to promote research in Indian languages and literature;
- to promote the teachings and study of regional languages and literature in areas beyond their own;
- to encourage propagation and study of literature among the masses;
- (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;
- to promote cultural exchanges with other countries and to establish relations with international organisations in the field of letters;
- 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
- to do all 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:
- Vice President,
- Financial Adviser, and
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.
- The Vice President shall be elected by the General Council of the Akademi from among its members.
- The Vice President shall, in the absence of the President for whatever reason, exercise all the functions and powers of the President.
- The Financial Adviser shall be appointed by the Government of India.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
5. Authorities of the Akademi
The following shall be the authorities of the Akademi:
- General Council,
- Executive Board,
- Finance Committee, and
- 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.