Charges of DU authorities interfering with governing body polls pile up; Satyawati College postpones election

Even as allegations of the Delhi University authorities interfering with the governing body election to favour few candidates pile up, Satyawati College on Wednesday postponed the election indefinitely after receiving a letter from the Dean of Colleges of the university.

The development comes at a time when repeated power tussles between the left and the right wing forces in the universities have triggered widespread debate. Only a day ago, Aam Admi Party MLA Sanjeev Jha accused the university authorities of interfering in the governing body election of Satyawati College to help a member of the body get elected as chairman and another as treasurer.

“The university authority told us to postpone the election because it had objections regarding the procedure followed by us. We were told to postpone it until further clarification from the university,” said Dr Manjula Das, principal of the college.

 Charges of DU authorities interfering with governing body polls pile up; Satyawati College postpones election

Representational image. AFP

But sources in the Delhi University allege that the main objective of postponing the election is to ensure that people close to the authorities gets elected and the reason of procedural lapse cited by the university is just a pretext.

“The university authority is afraid that the candidate of its choice might not get elected. So, they are just buying time by postponing to ensure that the candidate gets more votes," a source had said.

“Before AAP's governance in Delhi, any member from the ruling party in Delhi used to be the chairman of the governing body of Delhi University. But now, because it is AAP who wants to work for the people, the university has planned for election to have its new chairman. Not only this, they are also putting pressure through the vice chancellor’s office so that anyone from AAP should not be the chairman for the university,” Jha also said, citing Satyawati College as an example of the University's interference.

A source in the college maintained that on 15 May, a day before election, the college received two letters from the university authorities.

“One letter was issued mentioning that the college authorities did not specify that there was a tie in the earlier election. So, the college was told to postpone the election until further clarification provided by the university,” the source said.

Interestingly, the governing body election was originally scheduled to be held on 16 April. But the university authority interfered and said that all the members of the body were not consulted before scheduling the election.

“So, the meeting was postponed to 23rd of April. But the election result was a tie. So the next meeting was postponed to 16th of May. This time, it was postponed indefinitely, citing that the college authorities did not let the university know in time that the result of the election held on the previous date was a tie,” the source said.

Shashi Shekhar Prasad Singh, a member of the Academic Council of Delhi University, told Firstpost that the college need not keep the university informed about the governing body election.

“The governing body election is the college’s official matter and the college does not need to inform the university about every proceeding related to the election,” he said.

He further asked, “What is the intention behind postponing the election for such a trivial matter? There is certainly some hidden reason.”

Significantly, this is not the first time the university authority has been accused of trying to interfere with the governing body elections.

Earlier, the members of the executive council and the administrative council raised same allegations against it.

A letter to the vice-chancellor the councils raised serious objection about the university interfering with the governing body elections to get candidate of its choice elected. “It has come to our knowledge that some members of the University Administration are misusing their Office in an attempt to influence the elections of Chairperson and Treasurer in various Governing Bodies of the 28 Delhi Government Colleges. Many members of the Governing Bodies have reportedly received phone calls from the Office of the Dean, Colleges and the Joint Dean, Colleges asking them to vote for particular individuals," the letter had said.

The letter further said, “We wish to point out that the letter sent out by the University (dated 17.4.2018), directing Colleges to follow certain guidelines for holding elections, has caused unwarranted confusion as it does not follow from any existing Ordinance or EC Resolution. This last minute letter from the University is a clear example of administrative overreach and interference and is intended to further delay the formation of functional Governing Bodies.”

Postponement of election to be held on Wednesday is seen as continuation of interference by the university authorities.

Firstpost contacted the dean of colleges from whose office the letters postponing election were issued, but the dean did not respond.

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Updated Date: May 17, 2018 21:36:52 IST