Former chief election commissioner and head of the committee on code of conduct for student elections, James Michael Lyngdoh on Tuesday said "nothing is for all times" and that his committee's guidelines for campus polls should be reviewed from time to time.
In an interview to HT on the sidelines of his address to Panjab University (PU) faculty and students, Lyngdoh underlined that if campus poll guidelines were not being followed, "students are only harming their own interests". "Though the fault lies with everybody, from authorities (universities) to student organisations, it is more with the students who perpetuate it. If they are flouting guidelines, they are cheating themselves. It is about their future."
But Lyngdoh stressed the need for student polls. Asked if Punjab and Haryana should also hold campus polls across the board, he said, "Irrespective of the states, elections are important and should be allowed… In elections, they (students)… understand the dynamics of politics." He added that the conduct should be "orderly" and should eventually graduate to direct elections.
However, Lyngdoh stressed that "main[stream] political parties should stay away from student politics": "Otherwise, it will also become part of that rubbish."
On female representation in student electoral process, he said it was important and would increase with time: "In academics, girls have taken over… in politics as well… females would be patronising men in future."
In the brief session Lyngdoh had with PU students and faculty, a number of students alleged that some of his recommendations were impractical. He responded:
"Even in the recommendations the committee had made, we had advocated a five-yearly review. If that has not happened, it is not good. But, I cannot do anything about it. That is not my mandate."
WHAT ARE THE NORMS?
JM Lyngdoh led the committee that came to be named after him, constituted by union ministry of human resource development as per directions of
Supreme Court for guidelines on students' union elections. He submitted report in 2006.
*Universities, colleges across country must hold polls; union shall only comprise regular students
*Age limit for different categories between 17 and 28; process must not exceed 10 days
*Candidate should have no academic arrears; have attendance prescribed by university or 75%, whichever higher
*Candidate must have no criminal record.
*Maximum expenditure per candidate shall be Rs 5000
Note: Entire report can be found at: academics-india.com/Lyngdoh-report.pdf