Protests Not Banned On Campus, But Allowed Only At Designated Areas: JNU

JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh was fined for “forcibly pushing open” a locked door. (File)

New Delhi:

Protests have not been banned on the JNU campus and are allowed at designated areas, an official clarified today, a day after the institute faced flak over its series of stringent measures against staging strikes or dharnas within its boundaries.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in a revised Chief Proctor Office (CPO) manual has stated that putting up wall posters, and staging dharnas within 100 metres of the institute’s academic buildings can lead to a fine of up to Rs 20,000 or expulsion, while any “anti-national” act will attract a Rs 10,000 fine.

The Rs 20,000 fine for holding protests at prohibited areas of the campus is an old rule and not a new one approved unanimously by the university’s executive council (EC) last month, the official said on the condition of anonymity.

“We have not changed anything. These rules were already there in place. We have just introduced a few other regulations to ensure no disruption is caused to the academic process. Students still have the democratic right to protest at designated places,” the official told news agency PTI.

The JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) on Monday had shared the Chief Proctor Office manual released in November and it has outlined 28 types of misconducts, including a fine of Rs 10,000 for anti-national slogans, restriction on putting wall posters, staging dharnas within 100 metres of the academic buildings, among other punishable acts that could lead to a fine of up to Rs 20,000 or expulsion from the university.

“The stringent measures outlined in the manual are aimed at stifling the vibrant campus culture that has defined JNU for decades. The JNUSU demands that the university administration immediately revoke the new manual of the office of the Chief Proctor Manual,” the students’ union had said.

Vice-Chancellor Santishree Pandit said the rules and regulations against misconduct have been in place at the varsity since long and the manual was made legally sound by getting it approved by the EC.

“This is old not new. Passed unanimously by the EC last month as the manual had to be made legally sound. The fines are on indiscipline of drinking, drugs and misbehavior in hostels and towards women. The proctor’s office since 1969 has been taking action, imposing fines and rustications,” she said.

Student bodies at the university have condemned the move saying that it snatches away the democratic right of students to register dissent.

Following the EC’s nod to the manual, JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh was fined Rs 10,000 for “forcibly pushing open the locked door of the Teflas Students’ Union Office” on March 2 and given a warning not to repeat such an act.

According to the revised manual, if a student receives five or more punishments during the duration of their study, they can be expelled from the university and will not be allowed to register for the semester until the fine is paid.

Among the changes in the revised manual is a ban on protesting within 100 metres of academic buildings of different schools which houses offices of chairperson, deans and other important office bearers.

Earlier, the restriction was on protesting within the 100 metres of the administrative block, which houses the office of the vice-chancellor, registrar and proctors, according to high court orders.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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