The Delhi High Court on Monday put on hold an order of the Jawaharlal Nehru University cancelling the candidature of National Students’ Union of India’s presidential nominee Vikas Yadav in the student union elections scheduled for September 14, PTI reported. The NSUI is the student’s wing of the Congress.
The university’s grievance redressal committee took the decision to invalidate Yadav’s candidature on September 7. The student leader was among four students fined for selling pakodas (fritters) in February as part of a protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment the previous month that selling the snack could be considered as employment.
Justice Siddharth Mridul said he was of the “prima facie view” that the university panel’s September 7 decision was “unsustainable on innumerable grounds” as Yadav was not even informed about the complaint against his candidature.
According to the NSUI, Yadav was given 13 minutes notice to be present at a grievance redressal committee hearing on September 7 based on a complaint filed against him two days before. The statement alleged that the officials concerned had not informed him about the complaint until the day of the hearing.
“Don’t you have to tell him how he has fallen foul of the Lyngdoh committee recommendations?” the court asked the varsity. “You don’t send him the complaint with the show cause notice. What will he respond to? How will he respond to it?”
Mridul asked the member secretary of the grievance redressal committee and the university’s chief proctor to respond to the plea urging the court to quash the September 7 order.
The grievance redressal panel had also asked the university’s election committee to remove Yadav’s name. But, on Monday, the election panel announced its unanimous decision to keep the student leader among the list of candidates.
The NSUI called the court’s decision a moral victory “not just for the NSUI but also for the students of JNU who have been at the receiving end of a dictatorial administration by the RSS-BJP government”. The students’ organisation said it stood vindicated and was confident of victory in this week’s elections.
Sunny Mehta, the Congress student wing’s officer in-charge at the varsity, alleged that the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and the Bharatiya Janata Party had pressurised the university’s administration to cancel Yadav’s nomination.