SG Unveils the Way Forward for the Drafting Committee
By Sankalp Dasmohapatra UG '24
On March 24th the Student Government held its second open meeting with regards to the newly proposed Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC). The meeting agenda was to present both a new composition of as well as the mandate for this committee. The audience present numbered approximately 20 students, excluding members of the SG and the AUEC.
The new proposed drafting committee will compose of 15 + 2 members with 10 elected members, 5 members appointed by the HoR and 2 rotational members of the HoR who will only hold advisory positions. It was clarified that this change from the earlier 7 elected, 4 appointed and 4 rotational HoR members was meant to make the committee more representative and reduce the concentration of power present with the HoR; as was raised within the previous meeting.
The SG also unveiled a governing document for the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) that outlines its mandate, composition and has a provision for amendments to said document. The committee is to vote on clauses that would be included in the new constitution, with each clause requiring a 2/3rd majority to pass. The document details that among the 15 elected and appointed members, there will be two coordinators in charge of organising meetings, ensuring that procedures are followed and serving as PoCs for the committee. The committee is also mandated to provide updates every fortnight that will detail the work taken on by committee members as well as the agreed upon clauses to be included in the new constitution. In addition to this, the committee will have an open meeting once a month to present the work done and to hear concerns and feedback from the student body. Provisions also exist for the modification of the governing document, subject to approval by a special majority vote in the Interim HoR.
The committee and its mandate was met with backlash from attending ASP students who felt that the proposal of redrafting the SG Constitution seemed to be an extreme step taken by the Interim SG without any clear reason presented to the student body as to why redrafting is necessary. Neha answered that there was much ambiguity within the document and that she had personally faced issues when going about the duties of the President. Other members of the SG such as Rhea and Harsh added that given the context of the previous general elections, there exists a need to re-formulate the idea of what Ashokan student politics should look like. Members of the audience also proposed amending the existing HoR-Cabinet structure and even exploring the possibility of a student union which the SG clarified can be done through the structure of the new Constitution.
The SG was later asked whether they were taking the approval of the student body for the CDC as a given. Neha clarified that given the paucity of time and the existing student participation conducting an appropriate referendum would require far too much time. She added that she understood how this was an issue and expressed her own discontent regarding the same.
The Election Commission has unveiled an Election timeline for the CDC on March 26th with elections following the Modified Swiss PR voting system and candidates being able to stand either as independents or as part of a list. Voting for this election will take place on April 13th and 14th.