Apex court stays JNU students union polls

October 25, 2008: The Hindu

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union elections due on November 3 on the ground that they were being held contrary to the guidelines and recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee.

A Bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice Mukundakam Sharma while staying the polls issued notice to the JNU Vice-Chancellor and Registrar to show cause why action for contempt should not be taken against them for acting in violation of the Supreme Court’s order dated September 22, 2006.

“It was categorically indicated in the order that the Lyngdoh Committee’s recommendations were to be implemented and guidelines followed in respect of elections of all colleges/universities until further orders. Since the elections to the Students’ Union in the JNU are being held apparently contrary to the norms fixed by the Lyngdoh Committee and approved by this Court, there is prima facie contempt of this Court’s Order,¶ the Bench said.The Bench, however, added, “If fresh elections in line with the recommendations made by the Lyngdoh Committee as approved by this Court are held, there shall not be any bar on the same. The personal presence of the Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar is dispensed with for the present.¶

In his application, amicus curiae and Additional Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam said that as per the norms “a candidate will have one opportunity to contest for the post of office-bearer and two opportunities to contest for the post of executive member¶. But it was evident from the JNU polls to be held that the norms including the upper age limit of 28 years were being violated.

Justice Pasayat told counsel for the parties, “We will not allow any university or college to go beyond the norms fixed by the Lyngdoh Committee. These guidelines have to be strictly followed by every university and college.¶

“The amicus curiae brought to our notice a news item about vandalism of students of Samanta Chandra Sekhar College, Puri, in Orissa when the college authorities wanted to implement the Lyngdoh Committee’s recommendations in terms of this Court’s Order for the College Union Election,¶ the Bench said.

The Bench directed the Superintendent of Police, Puri, to register criminal cases against all the students who had indulged in such vandalism. It issued notice to the Vice-Chancellor of Utkal University and the college Principal to indicate what steps had been taken against the students who indulged in such vandalism, including steps for their expulsion from the College.


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