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8 Jun 2017

Order for apolitical student unions

TT, June 7: The higher education department today issued a notification making students' unions apolitical and announcing that the polls in colleges and universities will be held every two years.
The department's decision to make the union elections a biennial affair is in sync with chief minister Mamata Banerjee's comment in an interview to TV channel ABP Ananda on March 23: "I think holding elections every year is a waste of energy."
Metro decodes the order.
Party role
Students' organisations will not use any banner or emblem of any political party in any manner during the campaigning as well as the polls.
Campaign curbs
A student contesting an election is not allowed to campaign on the college or university premises and in the hostels 24 hours before the start of the polls. The candidates are also barred from visiting the homes of the voters for campaigning during the period. The candidates and their supporters cannot disturb the academic activities of the institution.
Eligible voters
A student will be allowed to vote if his or her name figures on the electoral roll of regular students of a college or a university. Which means a student must have 60 per cent attendance in order to be eligible to vote. Every college and university will prepare an electoral roll of regular students and post a copy on the notice board and the website at least 15 days before the poll.
Identity card
A student will be permitted to contest or vote in a union election if he or she has been issued a "security-enabled identity card" issued by the college or university authorities.
The president of the students' union of a college will be nominated by the principal or vice-principal from among the teachers. The teachers' council will nominate the vice-president from among the teachers.
The elected class representatives will be members of the union and will enjoy the right to vote in any meeting. The president - or the vice-president, in the absence of the president - will have a casting vote if there is a tie.
The union will only meet on the campus and after academic hours. The president - or the vice-president, in the president's absence - will call a meeting.
Annual audit
The funds of a students' union fund will be maintained by the treasurer and spent on development work and cultural functions, among other activities. The funds will be audited annually by the institution concerned. Any student can inspect the accounts during office hours.
Eligible candidates
"Regular students and research scholars... who have attended at least 60 per cent of total number of classes in an academic year and have cleared all tuition dues" can contest the polls, the notification reads. A student can contest the election only twice.
"A student convicted or charged in a criminal offence or offence involving moral terpitude or having been punished under formal proceedings... will not be eligible to participate in any election," the notification says.
Bar on outsiders
No one other than the staff and students of an institution will be allowed entry on the poll day.

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