On the 12th of October, the 19 elected members of the JNU students’ union were issued a letter from the dean of students, Umesh Kadam, which stated that they violated a clause of the Lyngdoh committee which requires all candidates to submit an audited account of their election expenditure within two weeks of the declaration of results and that each candidate must submit bills with GST number failing which the election of the candidate shall be nullified.
The student union, in its defence, issued the details of the expenditure which comes down to a total of Rs 92,634 i.e. Rs 4875.50 per candidate on 28th September. This is within the recommendations of the Lyngdoh committee which has capped the expenses at Rs 5000 per candidate. Though the bills were submitted on 9th October and the union wrote a response to the dean, there was no correspondence from the dean.
N. Sai Balaji, the newly elected President of JNUSU told the TWJ correspondent that the administration had not replied yet as their legal position in the particular case was weak. “Till now they have not responded because their legal position is very weak. If the administration changed the procedure as to how accounts should be submitted, they will have to indicate how it is done before the election starts. They have not done it in the past six years and we have been submitting it in a particular format. When we submitted it, they said produce the bills.After submitting the bills, they said that this is not in GST form. It is not our responsibility. It is the government which gives GST exemption to some shops. Even, say, I go to a shop which does not have GST. Is that a crime?” he asks.
Businesses with an annual turnover of less than 20 lakhs are exempted from GST which includes the photocopiers on campus and the canteens. Umesh Kadam claims that the rules of auditing changes every year and the union must comply. He also notes that they require individual bills and not collective bills. Balaji explains that the order to submit bills with GST is a pre-planned attack because ABVP did not win for the election.
The union cannot attend academic councils until it gets recognised by Kadam’s office. The union has already missed one academic council. In case of nullification of the student union, JNU might not have a union for the remaining part of the year.