Though Panjab University authorities have designated boards for student parties to paste their publicity material, posters can be seen all over the campus in gross violation of rules.
Canteen walls, classrooms and even trees have not been spared.
Even high court intervention and police action have failed to bring about change. Sanjay Kaushal, senior standing counsel of Chandigarh administration who appeared in the court, told HT, "According to West Bengal Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1976, which is also applicable to Chandigarh, we are taking action. We had even called principals of all colleges and student unions to impress on them that the space should be granted within the campus. But my knowledge is confined to what happened that day. Now the matter is to be dealt with by the other authorities."
PU's incumbent student council president Satinder Singh Satti, who is with the NSUI, was present at the hearing. "I and eight or nine other students got warrants around a month ago. Then, it was decided that special boards will be provided to put up publicity material." Vishal Sharma, campus president, Hindustan Student Association, who received warrants, said, "The HC sent orders to PU authorities to send bailable warrants to students guilty of defacement of public property. But the authorities ended up sending warrants to some leaders who had passed out three years ago and are now layers at the HC." Asked pointedly as to what stops them from following the rules, he said, "We hand over stickers in abundance to random students. It's difficult for us to keep an eye. As for posters, I'm sure that those of our party are pasted only at the designated places."
The police have registered 26 cases in the past two weeks. Ashish Kapoor, deputy superintendent police (central), said, "We have also told the university authorities so that guidelines are followed." Asked if any strict action can be taken against the violators, Kapoor replied, "Nowadays the university has become more of an election arena than an education institute. Summoning is strict enough, as cases could spoil job prospects of students."
PU dean, student welfare, Navdeep Goel, told HT, "Reports come from our security wins. So far we have got complaints only against two groups. If they violate the rule the first time, there is a fine for Rs. 2,000 followed by Rs. 4,000 the second time and finally an FIR."