The Delhi High Court today put on hold the JNU order cancelling the candidature of National Students’ Union of India’s (NSUI) presidential nominee Vikas Yadav in the upcoming polls of the varsity’s student union, saying that the decision was “unsustainable”.
Justice Siddharth Mridul said he was of the “prima facie view” that the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) September 7 decision was “unsustainable on innumerable grounds”, including that Yadav was not even informed about the complaint about cancelling his candidature.
“Don’t you have to tell him how he has fallen foul of the Lyngdoh committee recommendations? You don’t send him the complaint with the show cause notice. What will he respond to? How will he respond to it,” the court asked?
It also issued a notice to the varsity, the Member Secretary of its Grievance Redressal Cell (GRC) and the Chief Proctor of JNU seeking their responses to the plea for quashing of the September 7 order.
JNU’s GRC had rejected the candidature of Yadav, pursuing M.Phil in International Relations from the varsity, and communicated to the Election Committee of the university that his name is removed from the list of candidates.
Senior advocate Salman Khurshid and advocate Nikhil Bhalla, appearing for the NSUI student leader, told the court that their client was emailed the show cause notice at 12.17 PM on September 7 to appear before the GRC at 12.30 PM on the same day and did not try to reach him by any other means.
When Yadav came to know about the email in the evening of the same day, he went to the GRC office where he was informed his candidature has been cancelled allegedly for non-payment of the Rs 20,000 fine imposed on him for selling pakodas inside the campus in protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments that selling the snack could be considered as employment, his plea said.
According to his petition, he had in February this year challenged in the high court the punishment imposed on him by the varsity.
Justice Mridul told JNU that the high court on July 26 had directed the varsity to “stay its hands and restrain from taking any coercive action against the petitioner (Yadav)” till final disposal of his appeal to the Vice-Chancellor against the punishment imposed on him.
“If you (JNU) can send him a show cause notice and pass an order on the same day (September 7), why cannot you determine his appeal,” it asked and added, “You varied the status quo order without deciding his appeal.”
The court said a plain reading of the July 27 order “leaves no manner of doubt he was entitled to participate in the affairs of JNU without hindrance and without being subjected to consequences of punishment imposed on him till his appeal was disposed of”.
The judge said that after perusing the September 7 show cause notice to Yadav and the order cancelling his candidature, “in my prima facie view the same is unsustainable on innumerable grounds”.
The court said the stay on the operation of the order will remain till next of hearing on November 27.
The JNUSU polls are scheduled on September 14 after a debate of the candidates is held on September 12.