In a first, the Jawaharlal Nehru University administration Monday sent a letter to Deans and Chairpersons as well as the Election Committee asking them to furnish attendance records of all candidates contesting the students’ union elections this year.
Sources said a majority of candidates have written to the EC against the move, saying it was a violation of the Delhi HC order of July 16, 2018, in the “Kavita Singh vs JNU” case on mandatory attendance, which said, “No coercive steps be taken against students, in pursuance to the attendance requirements, now introduced on behalf of JNU, during pendency of writ petition…”
The letter signed by Dean of Students and Head of the Grievance Redressal Cell Umesh Kadam states that the record be submitted latest by 5.30 pm the same day (Monday). “In compliance with Lyngdoh Committee Report and guidelines of Supreme Court, it is requested to kindly provide attendance records of student(s) concerned, contesting JNUSU Election 2019-20, of your School/Special Centre,” it read. The details have to be given in a particular format including their name, centre, programme of study, and attendance record of the monsoon semester till August 27. This includes details of total courses opted, total classes held, total classes attended and percentage of attendance.
The LCR says “candidates should have attained minimum percentage of attendance as prescribed by the university or 75% attendance, whichever is higher”.
“In JNU, LCR has never been applicable in toto because of it being a research university and because we never had attendance in BA and MA courses too. The administration is trying to curb the election process…,” said an EC member.
The Left Unity Panel and the Chhatra Rashtriya Janata Dal (CRJD) are among others who complained to the EC. Saket Moon from the Democratic Students’ Federation, who is standing for the post of vice-president from the Left Unity Panel, said, “The administration is misusing its powers to subvert the democratic nature of the JNUSU polls.”
CRJD presidential candidate Priyanka Bharti said, “Court directions are very clear on the whole matter. So on what basis are they asking for our attendance? We have refused to submit our attendance records.”
Kadam did not respond to calls and texts seeking a comment.