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Tuesday July 23, 2024

KU tells SHC it has started process to formulate procedure for student union elections

By Jamal Khurshid
June 13, 2024
The Sindh High Court building in Karachi. — AFP/File
The Sindh High Court building in Karachi. — AFP/File

The University of Karachi (KU) has already commenced the process to formulate and regulate a procedure for the conduct of student union election, a counsel for the KU told the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday.

Filing comments on a petition seeking student union elections at the varsity under the Sindh Students Union Act, the KU’s counsel submitted that the KU had also sent the proposed constitution of its student council by the central student advisory council to the universities and board secretary.

The counsel also submitted documents pertaining to the constitution of the committee for restoration of the student union and proposed constitution of the student council. He requested the high court to dismiss the petition as not maintainable.

A counsel for the petitioner sought time to go through the comments filed by the KU, after which a division bench of the SHC headed by Chief Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi adjourned the hearing till August 15.

The petitioners, Taimoor Ahmed and others, had submitted in the petition that the Senate of Pakistan had unanimously passed a resolution for lifting the ban on student unions stating that the prohibition on student unions was a violation of the fundamental right enshrined in the Article 17 of the Constitution.

Their counsel Usman Farooq submitted that the Sindh government had also enacted the Sindh Students Union Act 2019 that aimed to restore and restructure student unions across the province thereby fostering the growth of the democratic system in line with the Article 17 of the Constitution.

He submitted that the Act mandated the educational institutions to formulate regulations and procedures for the conduct of their student union elections within two month after the promulgation of the law.

The SHC was informed that the chapter II, section 8(1) of the University of Karachi Act 1972 stated that there shall be a union of students of the university which shall be represented in the varsity’s senate by its office bearers.

The counsel submitted that lack of student union elections at the university deprived the students of their fundamental rights to participate in the democratic process of their educational institution.

He submitted that the student unions were recognised bodies that worked within a structured framework, addressing students’ issues on campus. He said the Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad had made significant progress as an example for other universities regarding revival of student unions as the union was elected there through a well-structured process overseen by a committee ensuring adherence to ethical standards, transparency and promotion of student welfare and democratic values.

The counsel submitted that a gazetted notification was issued in 2022 but still no university and college had issued their schedule of elections of students union in compliance with the Sindh Students Union Act.