HC: did JNU always insist on individual poll expenses?

Before 2018 it was never insisted upon, says students’ body

The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) if, prior to 2018, it had insisted on individual poll expense bills from elected members of the university’s students’ body, JNUSU, after their election?

The High Court’s query came while hearing a plea by Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president N. Sai Balaji and other office-bearers 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.

The High Court stressing that JNU should have followed the laid down procedure, said that the matter should have been first placed before the grievance redressal committee which would have heard the students’ side and taken a decision but instead the decision was taken by the Dean of Students.

The court has listed the case for further hearing on March 14.

The JNU, represented by Central government standing counsel Monika Arora, argued 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 people who had contested under one banner for different posts.

Separate bills

Ms. Arora argued that separate bills were required to be furnished and despite several reminders, the students have not done so.

The JNUSU and its office-bearers, represented by senior advocate Akhil Sibal, argued that in elections prior to 2018 individual bills were never insisted upon.

The students’ lawyers also contended that under the Lyngdoh committee recommendations, only an audited statement of accounts was required and not individual bills. To this, the court said, “The Lyngdoh committee recommendations were there earlier also. Why the shift to it this time? What changed now?”

The petitioners are the elected office-bearers of the JNUSU for the academic year and had won the elections conducted on September 14, 2018. They have sought direction declaring them to be elected office-bearers to JNUSU.

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