JNU, GSCASH to hold polls for their anti-sexual harassment bodies

New Delhi: Amid the controversy over the JNU administration’s decision to disband the Gender Sensitisation Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) panel and forming the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) instead, both have decided to separately hold polls to elect student representatives.

The JNU administration had in its 269th Executive Council meeting held on September 18 ordered for dissolution of GSCASH, an independent body.

The following day a section of JNU teachers and students approached the Delhi High Court challenging the university’s decision of disbanding GSCASH and forming the ICC instead.

The JNU administration has now put out a schedule for electing three student representatives for the Internal Complaints Committee.

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The polls will be held on September 29 between 9 AM to 5 PM and counting of votes will be held immediately after the polls are over, a release by the JNU administration said.

On the other hand, the GSCASH student election panel, which had put on hold its September 22 poll to elect four representatives, will go ahead with its plans after a resolution to this effect was passed by the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) in its Extraordinary University General Body Meeting yesterday.

“Most probably by tomorrow we will put out a new election schedule. The JNUSU gave us the mandate to go ahead with the elections,” a GSCASH election committee member said.

JNUSU and JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA), both opposing the formation of ICC, accused nominated members of the body of “not having credentials to deal with sexual harassment complaints”.

“None of the members of the ICC, particularly its chair, have any credentials of working on sexual harassment or the cause of women,” JNUTA president Ayesha Kidwai said.

JNUSU vice president Simone Zoya Khan said though the ICC rules mentions about confidentiality of complainants, it is not absolute as the members are nominated by the vice chancellor.

After a section of JNU teachers and students approached the Delhi High Court over the issue, the court asked the JNU administration to maintain status quo on the sealing of GSCASH office and sought its reply on the matter.

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The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) were also issued notices and their responses have been sought.