Student council elections, banned in Maharashtra in 1992, set to make comeback

Mumbai: Student unions affiliated to various political parties today agreed to once again revive the elections to student councils in colleges in Maharashtra. Education Minister Vinod Tawde today held a meeting of representatives of student unions here and all the representatives agreed to the revival of elections.

The student council elections were banned in the state after 1992 following the brutal murder of NSUI activist Owen D'Souza during a college election here.

Tawde urged the student unions to place their views on the proposed amendments to the Universities Act of 1994 in this regard.

It was a wrong assumption that only students with political background contest council elections, he said, adding that elections produce leadership qualities across the classes.

"In the next meeting, issues such as how the elections should be held, if there should be direct elections and what powers should the elected student council representatives have will be discussed," Tawde told reporters later.

The meeting was attended by representatives of Yuva Sena, Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena, National Students Union of India, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, SFI, North-East Students Association and others. The Supreme Court, in 2006, had accepted recommendations of J M Lyngdoh committee which had called for separate election commission for elections to student unions.

One of the main recommendations of the committee was to seek a declaration from the candidate that he or she does not belong to any political party. Candidates should be allowed to spend maximum of Rs 5,000, collected through voluntary contributions, and political parties should not have any role in the elections, it had said.

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