Liberal candidate Satvik Sharma was this week disqualified from the upcoming SRC election.
Sharma appeared on the ballot draw for this year’s SRC election, running alongside ticket-head Aryan Ilkhani, Emily Sun, Elyssa Chaaya, and Callum Richardson on the infamous Liberal ticket LIFT for SRC. However, when Honi received a full list of candidates to be announced in our upcoming election edition, Sharma’s name appeared with a strikethrough.
|[M] LIFT for SRC||M||LIFT for SRC||Aryan Ilkhani||Satvik R Sharma||Emily Sun||Elyssa Chaaya||Callum Richardson|
|[M] LIFT for SRC||M||LIFT for SRC||Aryan Ilkhani||Emily Sun||Elyssa Chaaya||Callum Richardson|
Honi then discovered that the Returning Officer had issued an order to disqualify Sharma from the present election and any SRC election until January 1 2024. The Returning Officer is empowered to disqualify candidates under the SRC Regulations. As a result, Sharma was removed from the ballot papers for the 2023 election.
It appears that this decision was the result of an investigation into allegations of forgery by Sharma, which is prohibited under the Regulations, although Honi is yet to substantiate the nature of these allegations.
On Friday 25 August, Sharma was afforded 48 hours to provide a response to the investigation. Sharma’s evidence was considered by the Returning Officer, who sustained the allegation of forgery and proceeded to formally disqualify Sharma.
Under the SRC Regulations, Sharma retained the right to appeal the decision to the Electoral Legal Arbiter (ELA) within 72 hours of receipt of the Returning Officer’s determination (by Wednesday 30 August). However, at the time of writing, Honi has no knowledge of any appeal from Sharma.
Sharma was approached by Honi for comment but declined our request, instead choosing to send a written statement. In the statement, Sharma denies “any allegations that I committed fraud or did any wrongdoing whatsoever,” noting that “regardless of any hurdles, we stand steadfast and strong.”
The final ballot for the 2023 SRC election was distributed by the Returning Officer today, and does not feature Sharma’s name.
As students of the University of Sydney, and therefore electors for the upcoming SRC election, students can email the SRC’s Returning Officer at email@example.com for a full written rationale for any electoral decision, including Sharma’s disqualification.
UPDATE: Elyssa Chaaya has withdrawn their nomination, with no reason cited.
Aryan Ilkhani was approached for comment.