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SC for regulating student unions’ poll
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 19
Concerned over the “unleashing of unrest” in colleges during student unions’ elections across the country every year, the Supreme Court today directed the Centre to lay down proper guidelines for conducting the elections and gave the government two-week time to submit its response on the issue and the proposed modalities.

Suggesting that the government should appoint a five-member committee under a retired Supreme Court judge with a former Election Commissioner, two academicians and a representative of the University Grants Commission (UGC) as its members to frame the guidelines and model code of conduct for holding the poll, a Bench of Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat and Mr Justice G.P. Mathur asked Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam to submit the names of panel members and the proposed modalities by October 3.

Observing that the students “unleash unrest” in the colleges from the day the elections were announced as there were no proper guidelines or mode code of conduct for holding the poll, the court said there should be some “control” over the eligibility criteria for the contestants.

Stating that of late student unions elections involved a huge expenses, the Bench said there must be some regulation on the spending of money by each candidate as such exorbitant spending spoiled the academic atmosphere.

It said that many student leaders prolonged their stay in universities on one pretext or the other by taking admission in one course after the other just to ensure that they continued to contest elections, therefore, some guidelines were needed to be laid down to fix the eligibility criteria for the contesting candidates.

The Bench was of the view that the problem did not confine to a particular university, but had become a “central issue” in the absence of proper rules and regulations to hold the elections.

The direction came during the hearing of a Special Leave Petition by the University of Kerala against the state high court order, declaring its directions for holding the elections to various student unions of affiliated colleges in a regulated manner as unconstitutional as there was no bylaws to control the unions and the university directives did not have any force of law.

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