A delegation of Panjab University Senate members met the UT Administration Tuesday and submitted a representation– deeming the administration’s decision to postpone the varsity’s senate elections in view of Covid-19 as a “direct and unjustifiable interference by the UT Administration in the working of the highest governing body of Panjab University”
The four-page long representation called the UT’s decision, based on information provided by UT’s SSP and DG health, “erroneous and factually incorrect.”
UT Senior Superintendent of Police and CID, Chandigarh had reported to the UT administration that “As the Covid-19 situation in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan and Maharashtra are at its peaks and the member of faculties who belong to these states will arrive in Chandigarh to cast their votes at PU, the possibility of the spread of Covid-19 in Chandigarh through this cannot be ruled out. It is, therefore, recommended that permission may not be granted to the PU authority to conduct their Senate Election-2020.”
The delegation of members, including Ashok Goyal, Anu Chatrath, Rajesh Gill, Keshav Malhotra, Rabinder Nath Sharma, Ronki Ram and Harpreet Singh Dua termed the decision “completely false and misleading.”
“It is to point out that there is none from Maharashtra, Rajasthan or Haryana who is to come and vote in the faculty elections. The fact is that only three members from Delhi and a few from Punjab will arrive. All others who will be participating in voting are from the Tricity itself,” the letter said.
The group refuted the administration’s reasoning, stating that scores of people have been coming to Chandigarh everyday by flights, trains and road, not only from different corners of the country but also from abroad amid the Covid-19 situation. All restrictions on interstate movement have also been lifted under Unlock 5, the OPDs have been made functional at government hospitals in Chandigarh and universities have even been directed to allow the research scholars from different states to join, it said.
The delegation further highlighted about the outpour of devotees at Mansa Devi Temple on the day one of the Navratra fair, and said, “Mansa devi was visited by over 16,000 devotees from various states of the country and abroad on October 17, against the limit of 11,000 imposed by the temple administration. Moreover, the Panjab University Teachers’ Association held its elections successfully in October itself, involving 628 voters, after getting the due permission from the same Chandigarh Administration.”
Citing more instances, they mentioned the elections of the High Court Bar Association, Chandigarh and District Bar Associations of Punjab, Haryana and UT, Chandigarh, scheduled to be held on November 6, in which approximately one lakh voters are likely to vote on the same day.
“When the whole country has been directed to open up and elections to Bihar Assembly are already underway, there is no justification for the UT Administration not permitting elections for the PU Senate. The current situation, under no pretext, can be used to demolish a democratic governing body of a university, with representation of stakeholders from diverse realms. As a matter of fact, if the elections of the senate are not allowed to be conducted, it will amount to serious violation of the MHA guidelines. Both the Houses of Parliament have already held their sessions and various states including Punjab and Haryana have already held their Assembly sessions. It is just inexplicable as to how a small election such as that of the PU Senate can spread coronavirus especially when all the government offices, university offices, banks and other public and private institutions and commercial establishments are functioning normally,” the representation stated.
As per a press statement issued by the UT Administration, the UT Advisor has heard the delegation and will look into the demands.
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