Delhi HC refuses to stay DUSU polls, agrees to hear plea on Nov 10

 The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to stay the Delhi University's Students' Union (DUSU) election on a plea of a students body that the allotment of ballot numbers in alphabetical orders results in "unfair advantage" to few.

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 29, 2014, 23:07 PM IST

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to stay the Delhi University's Students' Union (DUSU) election on a plea of a students body that the allotment of ballot numbers in alphabetical orders results in "unfair advantage" to few.

The court, however, agreed to hear the plea of All India Students Union (AISA), that the ballot numbers to candidates be given by a draw of lots.

"We are not throwing it (the petition) out but we cannot stop the elections. Let the elections happen," a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul said.

The court will hear the plea on November 10.

The students body has moved the larger bench against the single bench order, which had said that "prior to declaration of result, there should normally be no stay of the election process".

The election is scheduled for September 12. Candidates are required to file their nominations by September 3.

The single judge had also said that "though there is no absolute bar in entertaining a writ petition in electoral matters, yet once an election process has commenced, it must normally be concluded in accordance with its schedule and any challenge to the election must await the conclusion of the election".

"The courts normally pass the orders only to assist the completion of the elections and not to interdict the same," it added.

The court was hearing a petition filed against the Chief Election Officer of DU in which AISA alleged that candidates, whose names appeared on the top of the list under the current system of allotment of ballot in alphabetical order, were getting "unfair advantage" in the elections.

"Article 14 of the Indian Constitution states that the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth," the petition said.

AISA said "the allotment of a ballot number determines the position of a particular candidate on the electronic voting machine".

The petition said, "Candidates whose names appear first in the list of candidates on the EVM stand a higher chance of winning as there exists a significant number of voters who, being either unsure of whom they wish to vote for or being unaware of the relative merits or demerits of the various candidates, vote for the candidate whose name appears on the top of the list by default."

The students in their petition said, "Many of the voters are interested only in the college elections and are disinterested in the university-level elections (DUSU). This is also a widely-held perception prevailing among the contesting candidates."

"Such an unfair advantage results in elections being conducted in an unfair, arbitrary and discriminatory manner contrary to the mandate of Article 14 of the Constitution of India."

It further claimed that out of 47,000?50,000 votes, 5,000-7,000 votes would be cast in favour of such candidates.

"Realising this, many of the candidates are having their names changed legally to introduce the alphabets "A" or "a" before their real or original name. This causes their names to come on the top of the list. The legal procedure to change the name is initiated before the elections and, after the elections, persons go back to their original name by following the same legal procedure for change of name," the petition stated.