Navigating Student Governance: An Appraisal of Ratifications in Insti

In recent times, the subject of ratification and the underlying politics surrounding it has become a topic of discussion in insti. While many students may find themselves in the dark about ratification, T5E aims to shed light on its intricacies and impact.

What does it mean to be ratified?

Ratification is the action of signing or giving formal consent to a contract or agreement making it officially valid. In insti, this process is fundamental to maintaining the structure and functionality of student organisations’ operations. As per the Students’ Constitution of IITM, Chapter IV, Section III, Clause V,

“Every organisation, committee or club working under the Student Government for the students through the office of Dean (Students) shall be headed by a member of the Executive Council. Every such organisation, committee or club shall hence work in coordination with the Executive Committee of the Executive Council member concerned. All Core Member appointments to these organisations must be ratified by the Student Legislative Council.”

According to Chapter III, Section IV, Clause XXIII of the IITM Constitution, The Nominations and Ratifications Committee acts as a mandatory Ad-Hoc Committee formed to collect applications and propose a final list of nominations for all positions which the Student Legislative Council is required to ratify. The list is forwarded to the ccash, courses DR and ccw to verify the eligibility of the nominees as per the crriteria. Further, the committee publishes the list to the GSB for any concerns/complaints/comments on the selection process of any of the positions or the candidature of the selected candidates. The Nomination and Ratification committee will study and investigate each of the nominees based on the ratification criteria passed in the SLC meeting. As per the SLC-01 meeting, criteria decided for the ratification in this academic year are:

1. In case of B. Tech., DD, M. Tech., MA, MBA, M.Sc., M.S., and PhD. students, the applicant’s CGPA must equal or exceed 6.50 at the date of applying. 

2. The applicant should not have been implicated in academic disciplinary committee action.

3. The applicant must not have been found guilty of any gross misconduct by the Hostel Disciplinary Committee, Complaint Committee Against Sexual Harassment or any similar competent authority.

 4.The applicant should not have “U” or “W” grades in their grade card.

Why is ratification important?

While the IITM Constitution does not explicitly list which positions necessitate ratification, in practice, chief, head and core positions of all constitutional and non-constitutional bodies generally need ratification. Ratification serves as a crucial indicator of the support of elected representatives for the chosen candidates, thereby validating their decisions and holding them accountable to the broader student body. While the consequences of not being ratified aren’t explicitly outlined in the constitution, the failure to secure ratification can later be questioned by the General Student Body or elected representatives, potentially challenging the authority and legitimacy of the concerned body or the individual.

Legislators may hold a vote in case of confusion or disputes concerning a candidate’s suitability or qualification, requiring the proposed candidate to secure a majority to be ratified. Further, if a ratified head or core is to be removed, the matter must be presented before the SLC for the revocation of ratification by the concerned secretary. 

Issues Surrounding Ratification

  • The criteria given for ratification are not strictly adhered to. For instance, if a nominated candidate doesn’t pass the 6.5 CGPA criteria but SLC feels like they are competent towards their position, they can be ratified. (This can be considered to be a merit and a demerit in itself as the students can be given consideration on a case-by-case basis but can also be hindered and pulled back arbitrarily.)
  • There is no standard ratification process, the process is handled through customs rather than any clear cut rules.
  • The Constitution lacks clarity on when the Nomination and Ratifications Committee (NARC) should be formed, leading to procedural uncertainties.
  • No uniform procedure exists for revoking ratification, with each sphere having its own guidelines.
  • The jurisdiction within which complaints can be entertained remains unclear, leading to confusion. 
  • There have been instances of undermining the ratification process and failing to follow due process such as clubs/teams and people making decisions without being ratified.

Public Opinion About Ratification

In a series of anonymous interviews conducted to understand the public opinion, there were mixed responses regarding ratification. It was observed that a significant portion of the insti junta has limited knowledge about the ratification process and its criteria. Many interviewees raised doubts regarding the credibility of the ratification process. Insti junta expressed concerns regarding the interest of elected representatives and legislators. Allegations surfaced, pointing toward the possibility of internal politics within SLC legislators and lobbying practices, especially during important decisions such as ratification. One of them commented that SLC is not acting as the mouthpiece of GSB even though it should be and the elected representatives are not working for the interest of their voters but rather for their own self interest. But the students together were in opposition when asked about the need for a faculty to strictly oversee the ratification process as it is in violation with the autonomy of the student body. 

Legislators often find themselves in a conundrum because of their multiple responsibilities. It can be proposed that the SLC legislators will only have one position of responsibility during their tenure. Students are of the opinion that this can greatly reduce the internal politics and regionalism believed to be present within the student legislative council. Other  suggestions include implementing a secret ballot voting system among the legislators regarding ratification. And the removal of 6.5 CGPA criterion from the requirements for ratification. To quote one of the students, “PoR is something students do out of interest. It is also an advantage in their resume, especially if they are facing academic challenges.” 

In response to the various concerns and suggestions that were received from the students, Chairman of Nomination and Ratification Committee and HS Department Legislator proposed recommendations for PoR ratification. These proposals include well defined constitutional amendments pertaining to ratification and de-ratification, protocols for handling complaints and procedures for ensuing actions. Additionally, measures are proposed to ensure that all the secretaries adhere to the guidelines during the selection process. 

The Broader Impact of Ratification

Beyond the procedural complexities and controversies surrounding ratification, it is essential to recognise its broader impact. Ratification serves as a cornerstone of insti’s democratic process, ensuring that positions of leadership and responsibility are filled with capable students who have the support of the student body. It also encourages a more participative student community by allowing for student input and feedback during the nomination and ratification processes. 

It is worth noting that in this tenure NARC formation was started in the 1st SLC and the NARC report was presented in the 2nd SLC. NARC was formed, and the ratification occurred during the second SLC meeting. However, many students remain sceptical about ratification because of the vague idea about the process. Such being the case, it remains important to establish a uniform and transparent structure for both ratification as well as revocation of ratification.

Edited by Garima Sane

Design by Keerthana Senthil

Eva Maria Johnson

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