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SC bench to study order on elections

A Constitution bench will examine whether the interim order of the Supreme Court on September 22 on cleaning up students’ union elections is valid. Bhadra Sinha reports.

india Updated: Nov 12, 2009 01:08 IST
Bhadra Sinha

A Constitution bench will examine whether the interim order of the Supreme Court on September 22 on cleaning up students’ union elections is valid.

A bench headed by Justice Markandeya Katju, a votary of judicial restraint, on Wednesday referred the September 22 order to a Constitution bench to decide whether courts could issue guidelines/orders on areas that fell in the domain of the legislature or the executive.

Three years ago, a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat (since retired) ordered implementing the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations on holding students’ union elections.

The Lyngdoh Committee guidelines included restrictions on the expenditure incurred by candidates for canvassing, age bar, and prohibition of those with criminal records from contesting elections.

The bench headed by Justice Katju said that the issue needed to be examined by a Constitution bench as it involved “questions of grave Constitutional importance”.

“We are taking over the functions of the legislature … there are grey areas. But we are of the view that this is improper and dangerous for democracy,” it said.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told the bench that the court was empowered to issue directions “to fulfil pressing social needs”.

The bench said: “Today there are high prices and large-scale unemployment. These are pressing social needs. But can we pass orders on these to the government? We do not have the expertise though we are also affected by the price rise.”