Jamia Millia Islamia administration has finally confessed that there is no ban on students organization activities on Jamia campus.
In a response to an RTI filed by the Forum for Students Democracy, Jamia PIO has replied that student organizations can publicly circulate their handbills and posters freely. However, the reality is, Jamia has imposed an emergency type situation on student organizations on campus, and student activists have also been regularly harassed. I appeal to all student organizations to come out boldly on campus with their political activities and resist the current undeclared state of emergency.
While on other questions pertaining to our RTI, Jamia administration has withheld information citing Sec 8 (a) of the RTI ACT, 2005, which, however, can only be cited in case of “national interests,” security etc.
Also, Jamia does not have a Grievance Redressal Cell which is mandatory according to the UGC manuals. Jamia PIO has denied to give its position on Lyngdoh recommendations citing the question as “opinion based” which does not come within meaning of “information.”
However, challenging the claim, FSD has said that the Lyngdoh recommendations are from the UGC and the Supreme Court has upheld it, so Jamia can not call it merely “opinion” otherwise it might be considered to be in contempt of court.
Jamia’s current mechanism for student representation in classes is undemocratic and based on other than democratic criteria and hence it can not be considered to be equal to a students union. And the UGC’s norms clearly say that this can not be allowed beyond three years and must be replaced with a genuine students union.
Jamia has also denied to disclose the expenditure and income of students union fund fees which is still being collected from each student every year.
Jamia has also provided with a copy of decisions of academic council which clearly advocates for students union. But Jamia does not allow it. Based on information received, the Forum for Students Democracy has called its meeting on 25 November. FSD is waiting for a response to its RTI which was sent to the UGC and to the Ministry of Human Resources, after which FSD will take a concrete action to ensure that Jamia abides by all the government laws with regard to students union, including a petition in the court.
An appeal against Jamia PIO will also be filed to the Appellate Authority for not providing the correct and complete information.
[Afroz Alam Sahil is an MPhil student at the Centre for the Study of Comparative Religions and Civilizations, JMI, and is also the Convenor for the Forum for Student Democracy (FSD), a student initiative to promote elections in university campuses of India. FSD believes that student elections inculcate the values of democracy, human rights and respect for political opposition in the young minds. He can be reached via email at: [email protected]]