The state government on Wednesday lifted the bar on student union elections and advised universities to hold polls in their affiliated colleges on a single day to prevent violence.
An advisory signed by an additional secretary and posted in the higher education department’s website on Wednesday night states that vice-chancellors should propose poll dates to the district magistrates or the commissioners of police, depending on where an institution is located.
“The examination season having passed, the situation has been re-assessed and it is felt that… the conduct of elections to the students’ unions in universities and affiliated colleges can be resumed,” the note says.
“As the conduct of incident-free elections will need deployment of police for the maintenance of law and order, the vice-chancellors will make an application/move a proposal to the district magistrate or the commissioner of police… and the dates of the election will be decided by the respective district magistrates or the commissioner of police,” it adds.
If elections can’t be held on a single day for “pressing administrative reasons”, universities will have to fix the schedule taking into account the advice of the “district/law enforcement agencies”.
There is no mention of when elections can resume, but sources in the higher education department said they could be held from November, after the festival season.
The note says that all 17 state universities and their affiliated colleges should ideally complete the elections “not later than January 31, 2014”.
The state government had barred college elections for six months from February following a spate of violence on campuses, often involving political parties.
There was no bar on elections in universities and colleges that are privately run or self-financed. The advisory recommends setting up election committees headed by the vice-chancellor and comprising officials of each university and its affiliated colleges “to ensure close co-ordination among all the election authorities”.
These panels, including nominees of the district magistrates and police chiefs, will be empowered to take suitable steps to prevent the entry of outsiders and allow only online nominations.
The advisory skirts the topic of political parties meddling in campus elections.
The J.M. Lyngdoh Committee has prescribed an apolitical model of leadership in colleges and universities, dissociating students from any political group.