Ray of hope for JNU polls

Supreme Court to give a hearing to students' leaders on September 30

After a three-year gap, there is a ray of hope for elections in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) this year. Recently, the student community had sought an appointment with the Chief Justice of India (CJI) in this regard. The meeting, however, could not be secured.

Fight to choose: Activists of All India Students Association (AISA) and
Democratic Students Union (DSU) raise slogans outside the JNU
auditorium during a protest.

The students then met the registrar general of the Supreme Court (SC) and the student leaders will now have the first hearing of their case on September 30. The small success has encouraged the students, especially after the much-delayed proceedings.

The JNU administrative block. File pics

Meanwhile, the Students Federation of India (SFI) organised an opinion poll for students, to have their view on the long-banned elections and what they should do to make them happen. "An opinion poll was held on the campus to know what the voice of the majority was, and whether they find the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations feasible or not. We should conduct the elections on our own on the lines of JNUSU constitution. That is the only way we can have polls this year," said Roshan, state president, SFI-JNU.

The All India Students Association (AISA), however, begged to differ, and seemed determined to get their rights of representation back. "We just want to restore our due right for representation, which is integral to the student body of a university. We have tried our best to pursue the matter in the court, yet we don't know when the next hearing will take place. Still, we are hopeful," said Vismay Basu, vice-president, AISA.
Along with all the on-campus activity, a Facebook campaign is running to restore the JNUSU elections by a group of past and present students of the university.

Poll toll
The JNUSU elections were suspended after the varsity administration and JNUSU were served a notice from the Supreme Court on October 21, 2008, following a petition by the then additional solicitor general and present solicitor general Gopal Subramanium asking why the Lyngdoh Committee's recommendations were not being adhered to during the students' body election. The notice sought explanation on three issues: Lack of adherence to the recommended age limit for contesting elections; candidates involved in acts of indiscipline or those with a criminal record fighting elections; and repeat candidates standing in elections. Three days after the notice was served, there was a stay on the elections.

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