Poll panel seeks report from Kerala varsity after Brittas delivers speech violating code of conduct

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Thiruvananthapuram: CPM’s Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas on Wednesday violated the model code of conduct by delivering a political lecture at the Kerala University campus despite orders by the Vice-Chancellor and Registrar of Kerala University against the speech.

Following the incident, the Thiruvananthapuram sub-collector has sought an explanation from the University Registrar on behalf of the commission. The sub-collector’s letter specifies that in the event of speaking in violation of the registrar’s prohibition, a report should be submitted to ascertain any potential breaches of the code of conduct. Accordingly, the registrar has directed the Joint Registrar in charge of elections to conduct an urgent investigation and submit a report promptly.

The Vice-Chancellor had issued written instructions to the Registrar to prohibit the programme organised by the left-wing organisation of university employees, citing that the election code of conduct was in place. The VC highlighted that university employees are involved in election duties, which is against the code of conduct for external individuals to deliver lectures on campus. The Registrar informed the organisers that political speeches would not be permitted on campus. However, despite these directives, the programme proceeded as scheduled.

Despite the ban, Brittas arrived at the scheduled time and delivered a lecture titled ‘Indian Democracy: Duties and Challenges’. The lecture explored various political issues, with Brittas emphasising the role of universities as platforms for debate to strengthen democracy. He also vehemently criticised central policies. Later, addressing the media, Brittas characterised the VC’s actions as authoritarian and condemned them as akin to subservience.

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