The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday gave the green signal to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to hold its students’ union elections in 2012.
The SC had stayed the elections in 2008 for non-compliance of some of its guidelines. Elections to the JNU students union were last held in 2007.
Allowing the polls, a bench headed by Justice AK Ganguly relaxed some of the eligibility criteria, as recommended by the Lyngdoh committee, for students to contest the elections.
It increased the age limit for candidates from 28 to 30 years and also waved the mandatory 75% attendance norm.
The Lyngdoh Committee report, enforced by the SC as an interim measure in September 2006, fixes the upper age limit for undergraduate candidates between 17 and 22 years. For post-graduate and research students, the limit is 24-25 and 28 years.
The SC, however, said the committee’s recommendations for not using more than 5,000 pamphlets would continue. It also did not pass any orders on the number of times a student could contest the elections.
As per the Lyngdoh Committee, students contesting elections should not have held any post as an office-bearer in the last union.
The SC-appointed Lyngdoh Committee had in September 2006 suggested measures to conduct smooth students’ union elections across the country.
The apex court had stayed JNU elections in 2008 and issued contempt notices to the JNU Vice Chancellor and Registrar for their failure to comply with the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations.
In September 2009, on the suggestions of senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, assisting the court as amicus curiae, the SC had agreed to consider relaxing some of the Lyngdoh Committee’s guidelines that were opposed by student leaders.
One of the suggestions was to relax the upper age limit of a candidate and the number of times a student could contest the elections.
The JNUSU had demanded that keeping in view the demographics of the university, the upper age limit for research candidates (M.Phil and Ph.D.) should be increased to 32 years. Subramanium, however, recommended increasing it to 30 years for M.Phil and Ph.D.