August 14, 2021 12:39:11 am
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday said they did not have any doubts on the capabilities of Panjab University vice chancellor were confident that he “shall not leave any stone un-turned to hold elections as per the schedule.”
The court was hearing a matter related to the senate elections of Panjab University (PU), Chandigarh.
On Friday, the counsels for PU submitted before the bench of Justice Augustine George Masih and Justice Ashok Kumar Verma, that as per schedule fixed by the university for holding elections of the senate, polling has already been held for principals of the technical and professional colleges, members of the staff of professional and technical colleges on schedule on August 3. Similarly, for professors, associate professors, and assistant professors of the staff of the teaching department of the university, elections were held on schedule on August 10.
PU’s counsels further submitted that with reference to the number of voters, it was a gigantic task for the university to put out all its resources and efforts to proceed as per schedule, and it had faced certain difficulties, vis-a-vis buildings not being available for holding elections, as the protocol for Covid-19 fixed by the concerned state authorities have to be followed. Although best efforts are being put to hold the elections on schedule, there may be a possibility that in some places, the elections may have to be postponed.
The counsels for the respondents, Senior Advocate RS Cheema and Advocate R Kartikeya, submitted that the next election, apart from the above referred to schedule of elections, is scheduled for August 23, which relates to the constituency of members of the various faculties. They pointed out that as per Regulation 6.1, each faculty has to elect the Dean before January 31, every year, and similarly, the secretary of the concerned department. As of now, there is neither a Dean nor a secretary of the faculty because of which there will be a practical difficulty as Regulation 11 mandates that meetings shall be convened by the secretary of the faculty concerned as the Dean or in his absence Vice-Chancellor may direct.
Meanwhile, Satya Pal Jain, Senior Counsel for the university submitted that faith should be reposed in the Vice-Chancellor and the Returning Officer, and no direction is required to be issued by this court in this regard. He asserted that the schedule has been given by the university and all efforts are being made to stick to it.
The division bench, after hearing the matter, held that the way the university has proceeded with the holding of the elections as per schedule was satisfactory and that the university would not intentionally move away from the said schedule.
On being pointed out by the senior counsel for the university, Jain, that in one of the faculties, the total number of faculty members are 262 and as per the Covid-19 protocols only 200 persons can gather at a particular hall or place at a time, the HC bench said, “We are sanguine that in case the university approaches the Chandigarh administration and makes available a hall where a gathering of more than 400 people can be accommodated at a time, the said permission can be granted by the administration.”
“This court has full faith in the Vice Chancellor and appreciates his efforts for holding the elections. However, we would observe that the sanctity of the election schedule qua this election be also maintained unless there is an exigency which is beyond the control of the Vice-Chancellor himself,” The bench stated while posting the case to September 2, 2021, for further hearing.
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