The Supreme Court has given the Delhi University the last opportunity to respond to a plea that research scholars be also allowed to contest and represent students in student union polls in the varsity. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanvilker directed authorities, including the DU and the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU), to file their replies by May 5 on the petition of Abhishek Verma, a research scholar (Ph.D) in the Department of Chemistry.
“Why research scholars who admittedly are ‘students’ of the university cannot become members/affiliate of the students’ union? The research scholars (Ph.D.) cannot be discriminated without any intelligible basis. “The provisions of the constitution of DUSU are in clear contravention of the recommendation of the Lyngdoh committee approved by the Supreme Court, in as much as, the age limit for participating in the elections of DUSU for research scholars stipulated in the constitution of DUSU is (25) twenty-five years as against the age of (28) twenty-eight years recommended by the Lyngdoh Committee and accepted by the apex court,” the petition said.
It added that even otherwise, there was no provision in the Constitution of the DUSU which prohibited research scholars from getting affiliated to DUSU. The petitioner had earlier filed a writ petition before the Delhi High Court seeking implemention of recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee to enable eligible research scholars to participate in DUSU elections and become its members.
The high court’s single bench and later a division bench dismissed the petition, after which an appeal was filed before the Supreme Court. The petition claimed that most of the central and state universities across the country allow research scholars to participate in elections unlike the Delhi University.