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DU law student files NGT case against DUSU's anti-green election garbage flood

Environment not on campaign agenda?
Environment not on campaign agenda?

A Delhi university law student has asked the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to help curb the rampant misuse of paper in Delhi University Student Union (DUSU) elections which violate Lyngdoh Committee recommendations.

Law Centre – II first year student Nithin Chandran, represented pro bono by PSP Legal partner Piyush Singh, will be heard tomorrow at the NGT on his petition against the “utter misuse of paper posters, paper pamphlets, paper flyers and paper cards during the canvassing and campaigning by various candidates for the Delhi University Students Union’s election 2015”.

Chandran has made the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Delhi University, DUSU and the chief election officer, respondents in his challenge.

According to his petition:

Every year in Delhi University Students Union’s election and other student bodies election, the quantity of paper wasted in canvassing and campaigning is huge and the damage therein to the environment is irreparable. On every elections, tons of paper is wasted for canvassing by the candidates and their supporters. Wherein, there is no accountability for usage of paper and neither there is any norms or procedure for re-cycling of this waste paper.

Chandran, in his petition, has cited the Supreme Court’s 26 September 2006 order directing universities to implement the recommendations of the committee of former chief election commissioner of India JM Lyngdoh, in their student union elections.

classroom canvasses
classroom canvasses

The recommendations, which were submitted on 26 May 2006, forbid the use of printed paper and posters for canvassing and only allow handmade posters in election campaigning.

“To the utter shock of the applicant, the candidates of the DUSU elections are canvassing by lakhs of hand-made paper posters,” Chandran states in his petition.

Chandran has produced research on the harmful environmental implications of the excessive use of paper and has asked the NGT for directions to DUSU to adopt “alternative environmental friendly modes of campaigning and canvassing” and to “ensure that the DUSU elections are held without degrading and polluting the environment”.

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