Author: Mohd Imran
“Leaders are not born they are made. And they are made just like anything else…”-Vince Lombardi.
Lyngdoh committee which was formed to check the political interference and criminalization in the universities and colleges seems to have curbed the democratic rights of the students to some extent. Lyngdoh committee recommendations resulted in a lower number of the students eventually sticking with the party and therefore, it has become more difficult to make good leaders.
Student’s Union usually chooses students based on factors like his or her manner of speaking, academic and overall personality, whether they are likeable or not. Lyngdoh committee has restrictions on age and several other factors based, which we cannot go in for a more mature candidate. And this is where we are at a disadvantage.
It seems those in higher positions were scared of the power that the youth have, and usually do not make way for the young. If the ‘old guards’ would not give way, then it is naturally going to take time to enter the national stage politics for young ones.
Let’s see how drama unfolds with the recommendations of Lyngdoh Committee report. College is the only place where a student can start the initial stage of his political career, like others who want to become Doctor or Engineer, some students have dream to be a good leader. But the recommendations of the committee’s report are of such a nature that it abridges even the fundamental rights of the students.
Highlights of the recommendation of Lyngdoh committee-
- a) Time Duration: The Committee’s recommendations have clearly mentioned about the time duration for holding the Union elections. It has recommended that elections be held on a yearly basis and between six-to-eight weeks from the date of commencement of the academic session.
- b) Age: The eligibility criteria have been strictly laid down in order to priorities educational activities. Undergraduate students between the ages of 17 and 22 may contest elections. This age range may be appropriately relaxed in the case of professional Colleges, where courses often range from four to five years. For Postgraduate Students the maximum age limit to legitimately contest an election would be 24 to 25 years. For research students the maximum age limit to legitimately contest an election would be 28 years. Marks are also a criterion because the student’s priority must be given to his/her studies. The candidate should in no event have any academic arrears in the year of contesting the election. The candidate shall have one opportunity to contest for the post of an office-bearer, and two opportunities to contest for the post of an executive member.
- c) Attendance: The candidate should have attained the minimum percentage of attendance as prescribed by the University or 75 per cent attendance, whichever is higher.
- d) Previous Criminal Record: The candidate shall not have a previous criminal record, that is to say, he should not have been tried and/or convicted of any criminal offence or misdemeanour. The candidate shall also not have been subject to any disciplinary action by the University authorities.
- e) Expenditure: The maximum permitted expenditure per candidate shall be Rs 5000.
Such type of limitations which has been prescribed by the Lyngdoh committee report is the violation of fundamental rights under Article 19(1) (g) – “freedom to practice any profession …” and Article 14- “equality before law…” it is because except the Union Election of the colleges, none of the elections have such kind of restrictions, whether it is Lok Sabha election or State Assembly election or election of any other institution in India.
Firstly, our government makes ‘Draconian Laws’ in the name of national security and curd the fundamental rights of the citizens to the extent of ‘Right to Life and Personal Liberty’. And now, it has abridged the rights of the students.
We can see how unreasonable restrictions have been made by the Lyngdoh Committee’s report. For instance, the report of the committee states that Union Election should be held within 10 days; on the other hand students are directed to use ‘hand-made posters and banners’. Here a question arises how, students can save their time by making a lot of posters and banners?
Infringing student’s right in the name of cessation of criminal activities is not a just way. We can make committees to look after the problems of criminal activities in campuses. If we can have committees to stop ragging and sexual harassment then why not for stopping criminal activities.
Sometimes, it has been observed that members of Student’s Union are involved in illegal activities but it does mean that the Government should take away the rights of those students who are innocent. As it has rightly quoted by George Jean Nathan, an American drama critic and editor, “bad officials are chosen by good citizens who do not vote”. So, if, we are good people we will choose our good officials of our campus.