Supreme Court order to ban FSU activities in Tribhuvan University

2015-01-06

Ekantipur

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The Supreme Court (SC) issued an interim order banning all activities of the Free Students Union (FSU) in colleges affiliated to the Tribhuvan University (TU).

Responding to the petition filed by Bimal Prasad Pokhrel, president of All Nepal Free Student Union (Sixth), a division bench of Justices Kalyan Shrestha and Devendra Gopal Shrestha pronounced the ruling, nullifying the legal status of the FSU that was elected some five years ago.

The biennial election of the FSU has not taken place since 2009, owing to the differences over the electoral procedures among the student unions. While All Nepal National Free Student Union-Revolutionary (ANNISU-R) has been advocating for the proportional electoral system, Nepal Student Union (NSU) is for the first-past-the-post system.

On March 18, 2011, the TU Executive Council had extended the FSU term after its two years tenure ended without election.

The SC’s order has said that the extended tenure of the FSU is invalid.

The student unions had come close to holding the election on June 6, 2013, after 18 of the 21 student unions reached an agreement to go for a mixed electoral system. The voting, however, got cancelled just days before the election after the TU Executive Council found out that the student unions were enrolling hundreds of fake students in colleges to better their chance of winning the polls. The student unions had invested millions of rupees in the process.

The student wings affiliated to three major political parties--Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN-Maoist-- had invested around Rs 50 million to enrol over 50,000 fake students.

The FSU got legal status in 1979 as the representative body of the students to advocate for their rights in colleges. In recent years, the FSU, however, has been defamed because of its involvement in various irregularities.