Delhi HC Seeks JNU’s Response on Plea for Students’ Union Re-election


The Delhi High Court sought the stand of Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU) on Friday regarding a plea seeking re-election to the post of JNUSU general secretary.


A single bench of Justice Sachin Datta issued notices to the university, its Election Committee, the Grievance Redressal Cell (GRC), and elected general secretary Priyanshi Arya regarding the plea filed by Swati Singh, a candidate of the United Left Alliance. Singh’s nomination for the post was canceled by the authorities hours before this year’s elections held on March 22.

The petitioner stated in her plea that despite her name being published in the list of valid candidates for the general secretary post, her right to contest the poll was arbitrarily taken away, undermining the principle of free and fair elections.

“On 21.03.2022 at 10:00 pm, GRC issued an order canceling the petitioner’s nomination based on a complaint filed by Mr. Vikas Patel (ABVP secretary). The EC (Election Committee) subsequently canceled the petitioner’s candidature on the day of polling, that is 22.03.2024 at 2:00 am, just six hours before the polling,” the petition stated.

“The GRC’s action nearly 11 hours before the casting of votes and after the candidate’s name entered the ballot paper is a mala fide act and affects the petitioner’s right to contest a free and fair JNUSU election. Furthermore, the voters’ rights are affected by creating confusion as the petitioner’s name was present on the ballot paper,” it added.


The petition alleged that the constitution of the GRC violated laws and the body acted in violation of the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations. In 2005, the Supreme Court directed the constitution of a committee headed by former chief election commissioner J M Lyngdoh, aiming to ensure fairness and transparency in holding elections to students’ unions in various universities across the country. The committee made several recommendations in this regard.

The plea stated that the GRC should not have entertained the complaint against the petitioner for “proctorial fines” during the election process, and by allowing such last-minute cancellations, the integrity of the electoral system was compromised. Seeking directions to set aside the decisions of the GRC and Election Committee, the petition prayed, “Issue a writ in the nature of mandamus, directing the respondent university to issue a notification for re-nomination and re-election to the post of general secretary, JNUSU elections 2023-2024.”

The matter will be heard next on May 29, 2024.

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