With dates for the Panjab University Campus Students Council (PUCSC) elections having been announced,the Lyngdoh Committee guidelines have been enforced. While the guidelines are strictly imposed for student parties,those for the administration have gone unnoticed for years.
According to the Lyngdoh Committees report,institutions have to conduct a review of the student representation mechanism two and four years after the guidelines are implemented.
After the recommendations came into force in 2007,however,no such review has been conducted at PU. Rather,most administrative officials seemed entirely unaware of such a provision. Two reviews should have been conducted by now,as per the guidelines,the first in 2009 and the second in 2010 or 2011.
Clause 6.1.5 of the report reads: All institutions must conduct a review of the student representation mechanism. The first review may be conducted after a period of 2 years of the implementation of the mechanism detailed above,and the second review may be conducted after the 3rd or the 4th year of implementation. The primary objective of these reviews will be to ascertain the success of the representation and election mechanism in each individual institution,so as to decide whether or not to implement a full-fledged election structure. Needless to say these reviews will be based on a consideration of the views and suggestions of all stakeholders,such as students,faculty,administration,student bodies,and parents.
A S Ahluwalia,Dean Students Welfare and the returning officer for the student elections,said: We are satisfied with the current structure of election process in PU. Conducting a review requires taking the views of all concerned parties and students create many problems for the University in such a process with their differing views.
According to SOPU president,Manoj Lubana: The administration wastes no time in putting restrictions on us. However,they themselves dont fulfill their duties. Even if a review has to be conducted,a committee will be formed and it will take ages to come up with an appraisal report.
PUSU party in-charge,Sumit Gokhaley,points out that there is no authority to check the administrations functioning. We have been harassed by the disciplinary guidelines of the administration and the police. Even a peaceful gathering of hundred people is considered suspicious,because of which our campaigning suffers. We are apprehended by the security or police but there is no mechanism to check the functioning of the administration, he said.
In October 2006,the Supreme Court had directed the immediate implementation of the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations. Panjab University enforced the guidelines in 2007.
The committees recommendations came as a major blow to many student parties as various restrictions were put on the candidates and the contesting parties. There were guidelines regarding academic records,attendance,criteria,expenditures on campaigning and criminal records of candidates. For college and University authorities,however,it has provided relief. The election process in many Universities has mellowed down with marked decrease in instances of violence during the student body polls.
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