A year after the Supreme Court stayed the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) elections for violation of Lyngdoh Committee guidelines on campus polls, the court has agreed to consider relaxing some of the provisions opposed by student leaders.
Responding to the points raised by various students’ groups, Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae (court’s friend), has suggested relaxing the upper age limit of a candidate and the number of times a student can contest.
According to the Lyngdoh Committee guidelines, enforced by the Supreme Court as an interim measure in September 2006, the upper age limit for undergraduate candidate is 17-22 years while for post-graduate and research students the limit is 24-25 and 28, respectively.
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 has recommended the limit should be increased to 30 years only for M.Phil and Ph.D. students.
The Lyngdoh Committee report had said a candidate can contest only once for the post of an office bearer, and twice for the post of an executive member of a students’ representative body. But the students’ union had opposed it on the ground that the restriction was detrimental to the development of leadership qualities in students.
Now, Subramanium has recommended that candidates be given three opportunities to contest for the post of office bearers/executive members, provided they hold their posts for no longer than two consecutive terms.
Subramanium did not agree with JNUSU’s demand for holding elections within four weeks of the first formal meeting of the JNUSU Election Committee, as against Lyngdoh Report’s requirement of holding elections between six-eight weeks from the date of commencement of the academic year.
The JNUSU’s demand for keeping the university administration completely out of the grievance redressal mechanism too did not find favour with Subramanium.
The university administration has no role in the students’ elections held in the university.
The court also issued a notice to the Centre on a petition field by National Students’ Front of JNU challenging the Lyngdoh Committee guidelines on the ground that these were contrary to the very purpose of constituting student unions.
A bench headed by Justice Markandey Katju will hear the case on October 27.