Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) annual polls take place in September every year which are known for extensive campaigning-a show of money and muscle power, doling out of freebies to students, and poster-strewn roads and walls.
The most disturbing facet is the utter wastage of paper spread on the roads and on the walls, where sometimes a poster has a shelf-life of hours and sometimes even minutes, waiting to be torn down/superimposed by the opposing party members. Tonnes of paper in form of pamphlets, flyers, cards, and posters are wasted for canvassing by candidates and their supporters. The damage done to the environment is irreparable.
Earlier in September 2017, DUSU chief election officer S. B. Babbar issued a notice to the student parties asking them to remove the posters defacing the public property which is in gross violation of DUSU code of conduct, Lyngdoh Committee recommendations & the NGT order. NGT also earlier, strongly objected to the blatant use of paper in the DUSU elections in violation of its order restraining the students’ body from using pamphlets and splattering the walls of the varsity campus with posters.
In an order dated 14.12.2017, DU’s Office of Dean Student Welfare issued a notice directing 23 students across the parties to attend a meeting on 20th December to examine the submission made before the court regarding the cleaning up of public property before the court hearing on 22nd December. As per reports, only four students have been attending the meetings and others have been giving it a miss. These meetings were also conducted so as to decide on the future course of action regarding public defacement through posters and banners and also to analyse the action taken to restore the defaced property during the elections.
Some students have alleged that they have not received any notification from the University. This notice is visible under the ‘notifications’ tab on the front page of DU website. It remains to be seen how far these students are willing to go to mend their ways.
Delhi High Court would consider taking strict action against students who have missed these meetings. The bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar have directed the students to take part in these meetings. In the meanwhile,the court has asked the lawyers representing DUSU President Rocky Tuseed,DMRC,the lawyer Prashant Manchanda, who filed the PIL seeking a complete ban on defacement of public property to meet and form guidelines to prevent defacement during the polls. The next meeting is scheduled to be held on 30th January 2018.