With the second wave of Covid-19 receding and an apprehension regarding the third wave hitting the country in two-three months, former senators of Panjab University Monday demanded that poll schedule for the senate elections be released at the earliest, “in compliance with the Punjab and Haryana High Court orders”.
It was on April 30, amid surging Covid-19 cases across the country, that Punjab government had taken back its permission for the conduction of Panjab University senate elections which were scheduled to begin on May 3.
The election schedule for the polls then had itself been announced after a huge struggle, as the former senators had approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, after finding no respite following months of protests by former senators, syndicate members and students. On receiving the plea, Punjab and Haryana HC had directed PU Vice-Chancellor Professor Raj Kumar to ensure that the senate polls are completed by all means within two months, following which the varsity had announced the senate election schedule on April 6.
The seven former senators who had approached the HC have now written to the PU V-C and registrar, demanding that in compliance with the HC order, the election schedule be announced.
“It is pointed out here that about two lakh plus cases were being reported every day in the first week of May 2021, which have now dropped to less than sixty thousand and the graph has admittedly declined after reaching the peak. The conditions of imposition of lockdown by the respective state governments have also been accordingly relaxed… Hence, there is no occasion whatsoever now to delay the election process and the election schedule must now be released at the earliest,” the letter states.
Demanding that the election schedule be notified at once, it says, “As you are well aware, this election process cannot be completed in a day or two and has to be conducted in phases, for which meticulous planning has to be in place. Yet, in absence of any notification issued in this regard till date, in all probability, the whole process is being avoided in violation of the orders passed by the High Court on account of mala fide… The applicants have reasons to believe that on account of the apprehension regarding the third wave of Covid-19 likely to come after 6-8 weeks, it may not be possible to complete the election process before that if the schedule of dates for polling is not announced immediately. In this connection, your attention is drawn to the fact that never ever any consent of the states was sought till the last elections to the Senate held in August-September 2016 as neither it is provided in the PU Calendar nor it is required.”
The senate body of the university had indefinitely been dissolved after the expiration of its term, and in absence of re-elections, on October 31 last year. The polls which were earlier supposed to begin in August were postponed twice last year by PU V-C , citing Covid-19 guidelines. The varsity has since remained without an elected body.