PU moves high court, seeks stay on judgment in which direction was given to hold election in 2 months.
Panjab University (PU) has approached the high court challenging the judgment which had in March asked the varsity to hold polls within two months.
The appeal was taken up by the bench of Justice Ritu Bahri on Thursday wherein appearing for the varsity additional solicitor general Satya Pal Jain told the court that on April 16, poll schedule was announced for April 26.
Thereafter, this notification was revised and election was rescheduled for May 19. However, Punjab government had put in place restrictions due to Covid-19 situation.
Appearing for respondents, senior advocate RS Cheema, too, did not dispute the facts presented by the varsity on Covid situation. The court adjourned the matter till July 8 stating that situation would be reassessed on the adjourned date.
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It was on March 23 that the high court had criticized the role of PU vice-chancellor Raj Kumar and a single judge bench had directed the university to hold senate polls within two months. The high court order came on the plea of seven former senators, who had moved court on December 22, seeking directions to hold governing body polls.
The PU counsel submitted on April 19 Punjab had put a cap of 20 people at gatherings and out of 28 booths, 24 fall in various districts of the state. They had sought approval from the Punjab government for gathering, but the state on April 30 advised PU to postpone the elections in view of human health and safety. The Himachal Pradesh government also withdrew its permission to hold the senate polls and Haryana has ordered closure of all its educational institutions till May 31.
The PU submitted that under these circumstances, it is difficult for them to comply by the March 23 directions of the high court.
The PU submitted, “The elections can be held whenever the circumstances become normal
PU in this appeal says the March 23 judgment was not only contrary to facts but also contrary to three division bench judgments of high court wherein decisions on various steps taken in view of pandemic were upheld by the court in the matters of admissions and others. The court was also told that the directions are untenable because the varsity is bound to follow restrictions/prohibitions imposed by the respective states during the pandemic.
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Observation that the election process needs to be held at the earliest to prevent “autocratic governance” in Panjab University, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in a strongly-worded judgement has directed the varsity’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Raj Kumar to ensure that the electoral process for the Senate polls is completed within two months by all means.
Judge Fateh Deep Singh began the judgement with the quote of Charles Caleb Colton, “Power will intoxicate the best hearts, as wine the strongest heads. No man is wise enough, nor good enough, to be trusted with unlimited power.”
Also Read- Punjab and Haryana High Court – Live Law
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