High Court’s dismissal of 2012 petition paves way for Lucknow University student union electionsUpdated: Dec 13, 2019 23:05 IST
With the Allahabad high court dismissing a seven-year-old writ petition filed to seek directions for conducting the Lucknow University student union elections as per the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations, the varsity may finally be able to hold these polls.
Jubilant student leaders celebrated the petition’s dismissal on campus on Friday, with some even taking out a motorbike procession.
A division bench of justice MN Bhandari and justice VK Srivastav passed the order to dismiss the petition filed by former LU student Hemant Singh after he withdrew the same on December 11.
Student leaders said the development had cleared the path for resumption of union polls, which were last held in 2006.
“The petition was filed in 2012 because the University was not holding the elections as per the Lyngdoh Committee guidelines. The court put a stay on the polls on the basis of Hemant Singh’s petition. But the LU administration used this stay to prevent the union elections,’’ said Prashant Singh, counsel of the petitioner who was an aspirant for the LUSU elections of 2012. The polls were not held due to the court’s stay order.
A senior professor of LU said, “The last LUSU elections were held in 2006. These were suspended by the Bahujan Samaj Party government when it came to power in 2007. After that elections were proposed again in 2012 when the Samajwadi Party government took charge. However, the university used the HC stay, following Hemant Singh’s petition, to avoid the union elections and the situation has remained the same since then.”
According to other professors, rise in violence and disruptive activities on campus during elections was the primary reason why the varsity administration avoided holding them.
Vinod Singh, a professor of the economics department who was attacked by a union leader in 2001, said, “The law and order situation of the university used to deteriorate sharply during the union elections. This was the reason why the administration banned them in 2006. After that, the law and order situation improved greatly.”
“The then vice-chancellor, Prof RP Singh, put the elections on hold in 2006 when the student leaders resorted to large-scale vandalism during the build-up to the polls. A year later, Singh closed down the university for 10 days and imposed a five-year moratorium on the university polls,” he said.
‘Incorrect interpretation of HC stay’
Student leaders claimed that the varsity administration did not interpret the HC order correctly.
Pooja Shukla, a member of the Samajwadi Chhatra Sangh and a former LU student, said, “It is the mandate of the university to organise student elections peacefully but the LU administration used the HC stay and avoided holding the polls. The LU cannot do this anymore and elections should be held from the next academic session.”
Ajit Singh of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) also welcomed the decision. “Student politics is necessary to uphold the rights of the students. The varsity administration must welcome this decision.”
LU vice-chancellor SK Shukla could not be reached for his comment.
Lyngdoh Committee guidelines
Following a Supreme Court order in 2005, the ministry of human resource development set up a six-member panel headed by former chief election commissioner JM Lyngdoh. The Lyngdoh Committee submitted its report in 2006 with guidelines regarding eligibility of candidates, transparency in expenditure during university elections as well as rules for barring candidates from re-contesting polls. The guidelines were, however, opposed by student leaders.
July 2004: LU student leader Upendra Singh Manu was shot dead in a room of Habibullah hostel.
Oct 2004: A student was murdered during a shootout outside the Butler hostel after the student union polls nomination process had ended.
Mar 2006: A senior LU teacher Nand Lal Bharti was beaten up on campus reportedly by some student leaders after he refused to give them the ‘important questions’ expected in exams.
2007: Bahujan Samaj Party was elected to power in the state and its government suspended LUSU elections, citing law and order.
May 2012: After five years of suspension of polls, the newly-elected Samajwadi Party government decided to resume them. Polling was scheduled for October 15. However, the HC stay order came on October 3.