In July, 2019, the Allahabad University replaced the 96-year-old Student Union with a Student Council. Running on the same track, in October 2018, the Odisha Government notified that the Students’ Union polls will not be held in five major universities and 35 colleges due to violence . On June 7, 2017, the West Bengal government issued an order that replaced the term student union by student council . Although the Lyngdoh guidelines are mandatory for all colleges and universities and its first clause says that elections must be held in the institutes, but many universities like the Banaras Hindu University and Osmania University do not have a student body and elections have not been held since long. Out of the total 789 universities, only 50 or 60 universities are properly conducting student election . The mandatory elections norm continues to be violated by several
universities across the country.
However, student elections will take place this year in Maharashtra’s 11 state universities and affiliated colleges more than a quarter century after they were banned in 1993 by the then Congress government of M Sudhakar Rao Naik. The decks have been cleared for holding the student union
elections in Bihar universities after a gap of almost three decades in August ,2012.
The states and universities authorities take all the decision arbitrarily on the serious issue of students politics .The authority gives two grounds – first violence and second violation of Lyngdoh Committee. There are violence and hooliganism in the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha Elections as well. If Election Commission can conduct free and fair election in Baster and Kashmir then why
authorities are failing to conduct it in campuses.
So on the ground of violence, administration can’t deny electoral right. Actually, student politics need to be systemized with the law and order . Even, Indian parliament has failed to address and readdress student election problem. In spite of the fact that most of the famous and established
leaders come from student politics.
Presently, student election is being regulated in India by the judicial order not by any executive or legislative order . After the Supreme Court in University of Kerala v. Council, Principal’s Colleges, Kerala & Ors., (2006) 8 SCC 304, (referred to as “University of Kerala 1”) case , Lyngdoh Committee
was formed in 2006 by the HRD ministry to suggest reforms in the student union elections at the college/university levels. It was argued that these were becoming places of political tensions escalating into violent encounters between students. Under the leadership of J.M. Lyngdoh, it submitted its report to the Supreme Court of India on May 26, 2006. The Supreme Court on
September 22nd of the same year issued an order directing the college/university to follow and implement the committee’s recommendations. Lyngdoh Committee aimed at making elections cleaner, non-violent, and curbing the use of money and muscle power in the elections. In the
committee ,there were . Mr. J.M.Lyngdoh, Retd. Chief Election Commissioner (Chairman), Dr. Zoya Hassan, Professor Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Dr.Daya Nand Dongaonkar (Secretary General of the
Association of Indian Universities). Justice Markandey Katju and Ashok Kumar Ganguly held the order of Lyngdoh committee report as legislative order.
Lyngdoh Committee aimed at making elections cleaner, non-violent, and curbing the use of money and muscle power in the elections but it has failed on all fronts. There is a long list of recommendations, which are flouted in every elections, like the Committee explains that (6.6.1) the maximum permitted expenditure per candidate shall be ?5000, clause 6.7.5: No candidate shall be
permitted to make use of printed posters, printed pamphlets and 6.7.9: clause says that during the election period the candidates may hold processions and/or public meetings, provided that they do not, in any manner, disturb classes and other academic and co-curricular activities of the
college/university. Lyngdoh prohibited political parties from contest election and said that only
independent candidates can contest. The Lyngdoh also confused student council and student union.
Sections 6.1.2 and 6.2.1 of the Lyngdoh committee reports that only universities with a small
campus and fewer students, like JNU and Hyderabad University, should be allowed to form their
student unions via direct elections. The Allahabad university administration’s scrapped the Union
into council on this basis. The model Student Union differ from student counselling on fundamental
structures. Various positions of this council including President and Treasurer will not be elected by
students but nominated by the head of that specific institute. The Class Representatives will vote
and choose it’s General Secretary instead of direct elections. Basically, this body would be stripped
of its political voice or ability to reconcile under a banner to raise demands of the students. It would
be limited to organize cultural events and other such activities.
In reality Lyngdoh has failed and students politics needs major intervention by the Parliament.
Students politics needs a valuable legislation to scrap the Lyngdoh like National Student Union Act.
Instead an idea of one nation one election should be implemented in all the university. Election Commission of India should conduct elections instead of the university authority.
In reality, students politics is not only important for students but it is in national interest. Without the strong students politics Indian democracy can not run energetically. The democracy needs aware citizens , movement , intuitional awareness and those who can resists for their right .The students politics has all these character.
The youth is largest stake holder in Indian politics .The largest identity has its own challenges .
Without the integration of youth, Indian democracy can’t survive .The Indian parliament is one of the oldest parliament(in terms average age of parliamentarians) in a young country like India. The present day politics has excludes youth from politics as they think it to be highly nepotistic and filled
with unnecessary money-muscle power. This can be corrected through student politics . It is one of the easiest way through which a marginalised can become a leader. The philosopher likes of Plato as well as contemporary thinkers including American philosopher Martha Nussbaum have emphasised the need for political consciousness among the youth, which student politics create. Nussbaum has
written in her work, Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education, “It would be catastrophic to become a nation of technically competent people who have lost the ability
to think critically, to examine themselves, and to respect the humanity and diversity of others .”
The Indian youth have the capacities to take democracy in their hands .He has capacity to
revolutionise the people like international students movement . The Vietnam War Protests – 1966-1969 , Anti-Apartheid – 1976 and Tiananmen Square Protest – 1989 ,these three student protests that changed history of the world. Even, Indian student movements have had some successful movements like, indian freedom struggle ,1977 Sampoorn kranti JP movement and 2011 Anti
corruption movement .
In the first week and second week of September,2019 ,Asia’s biggest Students Union election would be happening in the Jawahar Lal Nehru University and University of Delhi. Let’s celebrate youth democracy and demand to regulate the law of National students union election and open the door
of youth into politics .
(Former DUSU Presidential candidate and student of Faculty of Law , University Of Delhi . He is also the author of a book titled ‘Ayodhya’)