The Delhi High Court Thursday asked Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) why it was not providing details of procedure followed for poll expenses of elected members of the varsity's students' union before 2018.
Justice Yogesh Khanna, who had earlier asked the JNU to apprise the court of the procedure followed in previous years, said, "You (varsity) have not brought what procedure was followed for last two years."
The court was hearing a plea by Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) challenging the varsity's decision to not notify the elected office bearers and barring them from performing their duties for not providing separate bills of their individual poll expenses.
"You (varsity) are not notifying them, you are not allowing them to work. What is this going on," the court asked.
The judge reserved the order on the point of whether to issue notice on the petition and said, "I am not saying anyone can bypass the Lyngdoh committee recommendations. Let's see what can be done in this peculiar situation."
The JNU, represented by central government standing counsel Monika Arora and advocate Kushal Kumar, told the court that as per Lyngdoh committee recommendations poll expenses have to be furnished within 15 days of declaration of the results, but the JNUSU office bearers gave a collective bill of 19 candidates who had contested under one banner for different posts.
"There was a clear notice by the university asking them to give the poll expenses. Reminder was also given to them. From the collective bill, we could not make out who spent how much. They said 19 candidates ran a combined campaign so they had spent together," Arora argued.
She said the JNUSU office bearers never approached grievance redressal committee with their issues and they directly came to the high court which is wrong.
When the court asked whether the university has any problem if the JNUSU is now asked to go to committee to resolve the issue, JNU counsel said its been nearly six months since the declaration of poll results.
Senior advocate Akhil Sibal, representing the JNUSU and its office bearers, said the court had asked the varsity to come back with instructions on a certain point but they have come back with empty hands.
He said the management had neither objected to in previous years when individual poll expenses were not provided nor nullified the elections and this is for the first time that they are asking for bills.
When the court asked what is the procedure of nullifying the elections, the varsity's counsel said they have not nullified the polls, they have just not notified them.
The court had earlier said that the matter should have been first placed before the grievance redressal committee. Instead, the Dean of Students took a decision in a meeting to not notify the elected office bearers and to bar them from attending meetings of various student committees and councils, the court observed.
"How could the dean take a decision? It should have been placed before the grievance redressal committee first," the judge had said and added "you (JNU) should have followed the procedure you have laid down".
JNUSU president N Sai Balaji and other office bearers, in the petition, have said that they are aggrieved by the "arbitrary and illegal acts" of the university and dean of students in illegally obstructing their participation in the various committees/councils set up under the JNU Act, 1966, statutes and ordinances citing the specious reason of non-issuance of the requisite notification.
The petitioners are the elected office-bearers of the JNUSU for the academic year 2018-2019 and had won the elections conducted on September 14, 2018.
The plea has sought a direction to JNU to declare the petitioners to be elected office bearers of JNUSU.
It has also sought a declaration that the Dean of Students has no powers under the Lyngdoh Committee Recommendations to recognise/de-recognise/nullify the elections to JNUSU which are held annually at the university.
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