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Tag: Delhi University

[Video] Mathura: The rape that changed India

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Not many remember that 40 years before the horrific events of December 16, 2012, there was another incident, where a girl even younger than Jyoti Singh was raped.

Her name was Mathura and she was raped by police constables.

She survived and appealed to our courts but did not get justice.

Mathura’s journey through the criminal justice system however, gave rise to a women’s movement that spanned the whole of India and led in 1983, to groundbreaking change in the law on sexual violence against women.

It also inspired an extraordinary act of courage from four law professors who dared to raise their voices against the judiciary and pursue legal reform.

Join us to learn from Padma Shri Professor Upendra Baxi, Dean of the Delhi University Faculty of Law Professor Ved Kumari, and Senior Advocate Rebecca John, the story of Mathura’s rape, its transformation of our vocabulary on sexual violence, the changes it brought about in the law, and the inspiring personalities who made it happen.

Written by myLaw

New president of DU Law Fac

Irfan Firdous, the newly elected President of LC 1 and LC 2 (in Delhi University) is upbeat about the future. In conversation with myLaw.net’s Rahul Sharma, he spoke about the impact of stricter implementation of Lyngdoh Committee’s recommendations on Student Union elections, and about his plans to have his election-agenda be adopted and implemented by the College administration.

Excerpts from the transcript of the conversation:

Irfan Firdous said that the implementation of the recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee had benefited the students of Delhi University in several ways. He praised conditions such as limiting the total electioneering expenditure by a candidate to Rupees five thousand, and limiting the age of candidates to twenty-three (for under-graduate colleges), and twenty-five (for post-graduate faculties). He said that these conditions have made the student elections more youth-oriented and democratic, by opening them to even youths of weaker sections of the society who wanted to bring their new thinking on the table for the benefit of their colleagues. He hailed another condition–the ban on printed pamphlets and posters–as having turned the student elections greener and students more conscious to “proper resource utilisation,” as he could observe a significant reduction in the wastage of paper and consequently money on them.

Talking about how he planned to see his election agenda being adopted and implemented by the college administration, Irfan explained that he had earmarked three key areas during his election campaign, in which he believed there was scope for a lot of improvement.

A victorious Irfan Firdous. Image courtesy Rahul Sharma.

A victorious Irfan Firdous. Image courtesy Rahul Sharma.

The foremost was the issue of Moot Courts. He explained that for “every law student it is quintessential that he participates in moot court competitions that enhance his over-all personality. This is even truer for ‘freshers’ who just begin their stints at the campus.” However, as a fresher moot court competition is organised only once a year, and that too within the first few weeks of the new session, a lot of genuinely interested, good and deserving students are often displ out. This is so, he explained, “because many students come from various places in the country, and are quite engrossed in sorting out their other logistical travails during that initial period.” Irfan said that he would therefore work for the organisation of “intra-section, intra-college moot court competitions every month” so that all students are given sufficient opportunity to hone their skills.

Second on his agenda was the “betterment of college infrastructure, especially concerning non-availability of clean drinking water, and construction of more classrooms and parking shade for vehicles.” He said that he has begun establishing contact with relevant people within the college administration to start work on these key points.

Third on his priority list, was the “issue of campus placements.” He felt that there was scope for a lot of improvement in this regard. He said his focus would be on creating a proper atmosphere for a fruitful interaction between the aspiring students and the recruiting companies and clients, and the college administration–particularly the placement assistance council–would facilite such interaction.”

Rahul Sharma congratulated Irfan for running a ‘controversy-free’, clean campaign (comparisons with the election result of CLC are inevitable) that saw a second-year student being elected the President of Law Centre 1 for the first time, and wished him all the best in his endeavors.

 

(Rahul Sharma is part of the editorial team at myLaw.net.)

Written by myLaw

Last day fever

September 7 was the last day of campaigning for elections to the Delhi University Student Union for 2011 (“the Union”). As expected, it was a day full of action at the North Campus, and especially at the Delhi Law Faculty (“the Faculty”), which saw hectic canvassing by the supporters of different candidates from the early morning until late into the night.  

Hundreds of students carried hand-written placards and banners as they participated in long and loud campaign marches across the campus, shouting slogans in support of their candidates. Candidates contesting for faculty positions stood at the main entrance to the Faculty, greeting the students with a customary smile and a handshake or a namaste, simultaneously prodding each other to cast votes in their favour, quite unlike the candidates contesting at the University-level, who led long and vociferous processions that swarmed across different colleges and faculties.

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More sights and sounds from the last day of campaigning.

More sights and sounds from the last day of campaigning.

One thing in common to both types of candidates was their propensity to enter classrooms while lectures were in progress. Some teachers took the intrusion lightly—a few actually welcomed them and offered them the dias, while others appeared miffed at the sudden break. Being the last leg of a month-long process, both sides understood and accommodated each other, and mostly avoided any altercation.

Polling is scheduled for September 9 and the results should be out the same day, thanks to the use of electronic voting machines.

Background

About one lakh students enrol every year to various courses at more than eighty-four under-graduate colleges and about a dozen post-graduate faculties of the Delhi University (“the DU”). The Faculty alone has six thousand students spread across three centres—the Campus Law Centre (CLC), the Law Centre 1 (LC 1), and the Law Centre 2 (LC 2).

Student elections in the DU are a two-tiered process; one set of incumbents—the President, the Vice-President, the Joint Secretary, and the Central Councillor represent the Union at the college level, while another set of office-bearers—the President, the Vice President, the Joint Secretary, and the Secretary represent the Union at the pan-University level. Eight positions are thus up for grabs, and electioneering requires very serious planning and resource management. Quite often, the students contesting the elections are out of their depth in these departments and therefore seek nomination tickets from the youth wings of the Congress Party (the NSUI), the Bhartiya Janta Party (the ABVP), as well as Left parties (the AISA and the SFI). This not only helps them get the necessary resources, but also enhances their visibility and exposure manifold.

 

(Rahul Sharma is part of the editorial team at myLaw.net.)

Written by myLaw

Student politics at DU

Student elections are supposed to give the studenets an idea about the process of electing a representative and an insight into democracy. Delhi University has been a breeding ground for politics and with the commencement of new academic session, election fever has once again gripped the campus. The Delhi University Student Union (“the DUSU”) Election is scheduled to be held on September 9, 2011 and the two major student political groups – the National Student Union of India (“the NSUI”) and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (“the ABVP”) – have already started drumming up support for their respective candidates. But this time, the democratic extravaganza is turning out to be a lacklustre affair because of the strict implementation of the recommendations of the J.M. Lyngdoh Committee, which has not only placed a cap on the amount of expenditure on canvassing but also states the consequences of defying the guidelines.

Last year, many of the candidates were barred from contesting the elections because they flouted the guidelines (which have also been incorporated into the Code of Conduct released by the University of Delhi for candidates contesting DUSU elections as well as Student Union elections), and so the parties are playing it safe this time. According to the recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee, a candidate is not allowed to use printed material such as posters or pamphlets for canvassing. Only handmade posters are to be used at designated places in the campus, provided that they are procured within the expenditure limit of Rs.5,000/-. Besides, use of vehicles, loudspeakers, and even animals, which were one of the most popular means to win support, is also prohibited.

Animals are more useful in election campaigning than you would imagine. Image above is from Hari Prasad Nadig's photostream on Flickr.

Animals are more useful in election campaigning than you would imagine.
Image above is from Hari Prasad Nadig’s photostream on Flickr.

The DUSU elections in 2010 were dominated by the ABVP, the student political arm of BJP, where the party bagged three of the four important posts in the varsity by a comfortable margin, ending the NSUI’s (the student political arm of the Congress) unchallenged reign of eight years. Both parties are yet to finalise the names of the candidates contesting the elections this year. The 2010 elections were fought mainly on the agenda of delay and gross irregularities in preparations for the Commonwealth games, price rise, implementation of semester system at the undergraduate level, and academic reforms.

According to Govind Kumar, President of the Student Union of Satyawati College, the NSUI’s tentative names for this year’s elections are Bhupendra Chaudhary, Ajay Chikkara (Faculty of Law), Manvi Chaudhary, Ravinder Chaudhary, Parag Sharma (M.A., Department of Buddhist Studies), and Garima Tiwari (Miranda House). When asked about the agenda, he further added that the NSUI has been working continuously on important issues concerning students, such as a twenty-four-hour library facility, bus facility for the students, and more girls’ hostels and will continue to pursue the same. On the other hand ABVP is contemplating the nomination of nine candidates: Manish Chandela (Ram Lal Anand College), Gaurav Chaudhary, Vikas Yadav (Ram Lal Anand college), Pooja Guliya, Deepak Bansal, Neha Singh (M.A., Department of Buddhist Studies), Utkarsh Chaudhary, and Vikas Chaudhary (Moti Lal Nehru College). “ABVP will focus on eradication of corruption in the education system and is determined to take required steps to stop the commercialisation of education. Besides, we will also raise the demand for new colleges”, said Manish Chandela, a student of Ram Lal Anand College (South Campus). He was of the opinion that the expenditure limit set up by the University as per the recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee will help in selecting deserving and responsible candidates through a fair process. However, it is a disadvantage for individual candidates, who do not have any political backing and used to depend entirely on direct canvassing methods.

Apart from the DUSU Elections, the Faculty of Law, Delhi University will also witness Student Union elections, with students contesting for the posts of President, Vice President, Secretary, Joint-Secretary, and two posts of Central Councilor. A major change brought in this year is Braille-enabled Electronic Voting Machines for visually challenged students, which is a result of the efforts of the University’s Equal Opportunity Cell and will help them cast votes without any external help.

 

 

(Lipi Thapiyal is a student of Delhi University’s Faculty of Law.)

Written by myLaw

Election fever in Delhi University

Politics is in the air.

Politics is in the air.

Delhi University elections are seen as a platform to break into national-level politics. These elections are usually held every year between the months of August and September. Even though the Delhi University Students Union (“DUSU”) is the representative body of the students of most of the colleges that fall under the umbrella of Delhi University, a few colleges like the Delhi University Law Faculty (“the Faculty”) have their own student unions for which elections take place separately. As the elections draw closer, the Faculty also gears up for the grind and in fact, the law students are perhaps more politically conscious than the others. Student representatives and their supporters are now trying to woo students with their promises and their agendas. Aspiring candidates try to get the votes of the “freshers” in particular, as these new entrants to the Faculty are more enthusiastic about the elections than the seniors.

Contesting the student union election is also seen as a quick way to get famous. The other motivating factor is the lure of funds, which they receive for development and constructive work. College elections are not free from the vices that national-level elections are prone to. In fact, it is the national-level parties like the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party that fund student bodies like the National Students’ Union of India, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, and the All India Students’ Association. These national level parties also field candidates of their choice in order to fulfill their own agenda. Aspiring candidates from the Faculty come up with their manifesto of reforms and offer solutions to the grievances of students at the time of seeking votes. But like their counterparts at the national and state levels, they also forget about their promises once they get elected.

Infrastructure is a big concern for the students of the Faculty at present. With more than 2300 students in the first year of the course alone, the campus is bursting at the seams. There are not enough class-rooms. Existing class-rooms are also in need of renovation and improvement. Basic amenities like water are also extremely difficult to find on the campus. Water-coolers do not function on most occasions. Toilets remain unhygienic. These infrastructural problems need immediate attention and the elected representatives of the Faculty would do well to bring them to the notice of the administration. A second issue that needs the attention of the elected representatives is the lack of well-equipped teaching staff. The grouse is that different sections of the Faculty get different teachers, thus creating a disparity in the quality of the teachers and the teaching. For instance, a good teacher of family law who teaches in Section D might not be teaching in Section A. The strength of the teaching staff is also not sufficient to cater to the large number of students.

The election itself is in need of reform. Even though the Central Government has implemented the report of Lyngdoh Committee on Student Body Elections on the directions of the Supreme Court on September 22, 2006, it appears that the recommendations have not been followed strictly. The expenditure limit for these elections had been fixed at rupees 5,000 per candidate. This is not followed by anyone. The student bodies of national parties infuse huge amounts of money into these elections. For student representatives now, the lure of money and fame is more important than the welfare of students. The elections are fought on the basis of money power and regionalism. The voting behavior of students is also not exemplary as they are guided more by caste, region, friendship, and other factors than the real pressing issues. This is one of the reasons why a majority of the students feign indifference towards these elections and do not even bother to cast their vote.

With the arrival of a new lot of students at the Law Faculty and elections around the corner once again, politics is in the air. This is a new opportunity for the aspiring candidates to raise real issues and make genuine promises for addressing students’ grievances. At the same time, it is also time for the students to choose honest candidates and work together for the larger good of the Faculty.

 

 

(Namit Srivastava is an LL.M student from the Campus Law Center at the Delhi University.

Written by myLaw