Order barring JNU students from official meetings stayed
The Delhi high court on Wednesday put in abeyance an order of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) executive council barring office-bearers of the JNU student’s Union (JNUSU) from attending meetings of various schools and courses because they did not provide separate bills of their individual expenses during the student union polls.
The court’s interim order came on a plea filed by the students’ union, which challenged the university’s decision to not notify the elected office-bearers and barring them from performing their duties.
Stating that the Supreme Court had never asked for the audited accounts, Justice Yogesh Khanna on Wednesday said prima facie the varsity could not allege any breach of the recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee appointed by the ministry of human resource and development on the top court’s directions.
“Prima facie, after the elections, the university cannot allege breach of Lyngdoh recommendations. None of the letters relied upon by the university were addressed to contesting candidates.
“A bare perusal of the recommendations would reveal the Supreme Court never asked for audited accounts and rather required filing of certified accounts, which in fact were submitted in the same manner as were being submitted since the year 2012 and as lately as in 2016 and in 2017,” the court said.
It noted that no format was ever given to the students before the elections and so they followed the past practices. The court said that since 2012, the varsity did not ask for original bills or those that are GST-complaint. It saidthe JNU authorities allegedly demanded it for the first time in 2018-19 after the results were declared.
The judge said if the university were to change its past practice, it ought alerted the students in advance.
Quashing the varsity’s contention that the students should have approached the Grievance Redressal Cell instead of going to court, the judge said, “The arguments of the university... is misconceived since the complaint is made against the union and not by the union. Thus, without referring the issue of expenses to the cell, the council on its own could not have restrained JNUSU from attending committee meetings meant for student’s welfare.”
The single-judge bench directed the cell to look into the practice of filing election expenses bills in accordance with the Lyngdoh committee recommendations within two months.
The court sought the varsity’s response within six weeks. The matter would be now heard on July 17.