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JNUSU polls: Students outfits, admin spar over Lyndoh recommendations

Amid demands by various student outfits to follow the old provisions of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) constitution to conduct the student body polls, the university vice-chancellor has asserted that the elections would be held as per the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations (LCR). 

The university has also appointed a Grievance Redressal Committee to address the concerns of student unions and contestants. The administration had constituted the GRC on August 18, which has already started functioning. 

RP Singh, dean of students, has been appointed as the chairperson of the GRC, which is mandated to ensure that candidates adhere to the code of conduct. 

“For JNUSU elections, we will follow the existing rules that are based on the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations,” said JNU vice-chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar. 

“The university administration had a meeting with students on Friday, wherein we requested them to follow LCR for elections,” Kumar added.

The Supreme Court has in 2006 directed to conduct student polls in India on the basis of the LCR, which among other things had set the maximum age limit of 28 years for candidates and debarred candidates from seeking more than one term. Prior to 2008, elections in JNU were conducted as the JNU constitution. After all student groups, except NSUI, opposed the election under the LCR, no poll was conducted from 2008 to 2011. When the Apex Court relaxed LCR norms specifically for JNU in 2011, student body elections were resumed from 2012. 

But for the upcoming elections, student groups are demanding to revert to JNU constitution. In fact, in a General Body Meeting (GBM) of students in April, a resolution was passed to that effect.

Another GBM is scheduled for this week. If a resolution to discard the LCR is adopted, the campus could witness another bout of clash between students and the JNU administration.

“It has been our long-standing demand to hold elections on the basis of JNU constitution and we continue to struggle for it. But at the same time, we don’t want to give the administration an alibi to cancel the elections altogether. After all, it is better to have polls than none at all,” said Rama Naga, JNUSU General Secretary and a CPI (ML) Liberation backed AISA member. 

“Before going with the demand to restore JNU Constitution, it will be prudent to see if it is legally tenable or not,” said Saurabh Sharma, JNU Joint Secretary and a member of BJP backed ABVP. It’s pertinent to mention that the Supreme Court had already rejected the demands of student unions to go back to the old rules and implemented Lyngdoh Committee recommendations.
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