The Dhaka University authorities on Tuesday(27 january) fixed 30 years as the maximum age limit for participating in the elections to the Dhaka University Central Students Union and hall student unions scheduled for March 11.
A meeting of the university syndicate with vice-chancellor professor Akhtaruzzaman in the chair decided that students in the evening programme, other programmes, Doctor of Philosophy and affiliated colleges could would not be allowed to participate in the elections, confirmed law faculty dean and syndicate member Md Rahmat Ullah.
The students getting enrolled at the university through first year honours admission test and currently studying in undergraduate, postgraduate and Master of Philosophy courses can participate in the elections, remained stalled for 18 years since 1990, the meeting decided.
The syndicate, however, rejected different student organisations’ demand for setting up polling stations outside halls of residence over security concern for the voters.
The syndicate created some new positions and modified some existing positions in DUCSU and hall student unions following demands raised by different student organisations.
Earlier, the university authorities appointed international business department professor SM Mahfuzur Rahman as chief returning officer and formed a 15-member Advisory Council for the polls.
On September 15, 2018, after meeting with student organisations vice-chancellor Akhtaruzzaman at a briefing said that the DUCSU polls might be held by March 2019.
Fifteen former Dhaka University students filed a contempt petition on September 12, 2018 against vice-chancellor Akhtaruzzaman, proctor AKM Golam Rabbani and treasurer Kamal Uddin for violating a High Court order asking them to hold the DUCSU polls.
On January 17, 2018, the High Court bench of Justice Syed Muhammad Dastagir Husain and Justice Ataur Rahman Khan asked the Dhaka University authorities to take steps for holding DUCSU polls at a ‘suitable time, preferably within six months. The university authorities made several futile promises to hold the elections since DUCSU was formally dissolved on May 28, 1998.
The DUCSU polls, however, did not take place in 28 years because of indifference of the successive university administrations and governments reportedly in order to maintain their dominance on the campus.
This practice breached express provisions of Articles 4 and 20 of the Dhaka University Order 1973, the petitioners argued.
This violation renders all the senate committees and vice-chancellor elections of the university in the past 28 years unconstitutional as in the senate of the university five seats reserved for the student representatives have been remained vacant since the fall of autocratic regime in 1990, they argued.
DUCSU was formed in 1924 after the establishment of Dhaka University in 1921, and its first vice-president was nominated in the 1924-25 academic session. Since then, the vice-president used to be nominated until 1953 when the first elections to the student union were held.
The latest DUCSU elections were held in 1990. It was the sixth election after the independence of Bangladesh. Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal-backed panel led by Amanullah Aman and Khairul Kabir Khokan won the elections and they stayed the leaders of the student body until its dissolution.