New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday observed that the practice of candidates adding the alphabet "A" before their names prior to DUSU polls to get themselves listed at the top of the ballot paper "is flawed".
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said the name by which a candidate is allowed to contest Delhi University Student Union (DUSU) elections should be the name on the rolls of the varsity.
It said that the practice, if followed by the respondent university of allowing such prefixes to the name solely for the purpose of election, is flawed.
"The name by which a candidate is allowed to contest the election should be the name on the rolls of the university and the name would be the same as the name of such student in the school leaving certificate," the court said.
It expressed surprise as to "how the contesting candidates are able to so change their names for the purpose of election".
The bench observed that either a candidate should be allowed to change his name only after contesting the election and "once the candidate has so changed his name, even if for the purpose of election, in the ensuing year he/she ought not be permitted to thereafter revert to the original name and should be ready to obtain his university leaving certificate/ degree also with such changed name".
"The contesting candidates having indulged in such a practice, this Court cannot turn a blind eye thereto," it said.
The court, however, did not issue any directions as sought in the plea to the varsity as the petitioners had "not raised the issue in the correct perspective" and disposed of the matter.
It asked DU to consider the issue within three months and take a decision.
The court observed, "We fail to understand, as to how a student of the university, for the purpose of contesting the election, can be allowed any prefix before his name as entered on the rolls of the university.
"Unfortunately, the said question, in the aforesaid perspective was not raised in the writ petition," it noted while disposing of the petition by All India Students Association (AISA).
AISA had challenged the prevalent practice in DUSU elections of some of the contesting candidates adding the alphabet "A" before their names with a view to having their names listed first or at the top of the ballot paper.
It had contended that it was a belief that a large number of voters not committed to any particular contesting candidate but nevertheless exercising their voting right, exercise the same in favour of the candidate whose name appears first on the ballot paper without even bothering to go through all the names.
The student body had sought a direction to the varsity to allot a ballot number in which the names of the contesting candidates appear on the ballot paper, by holding a draw or lottery in a free and fair manner.
The bench, however, did not agree with this contention of AISA, saying there is no error in the varsity's practice of publishing the names of contesting candidates on the ballot paper in alphabetical order.
It also said that the "name of the student on the roll of the university ought to be the same as the name of that student in school. Again, ordinarily the name by which a candidate can be permitted to contest the election ought to be the name of that candidate on the rolls of the university and no different."