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Stephen’s Supreme Council Row: Delhi HC Sends Notice to College

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The college’s controversial decision to have a member from the its ‘Supreme Council’ in the interview panel was challenged in court.

On 2 June, the Delhi High Court sent a notice to St. Stephen’s College following a plea by three faculty members challenging the decision of the college to have an additional member, from its Supreme Council, in the interview panel for admissions of students.

DU Beat had previously reported that the Principal of the college, Professor John Varghese had made this announcement in a meeting of the Staff Council of the college dated 13th May.

The decision was challenged in the High Court by the faculty members of the Governing Body of the college – Abhishek Singh, Nandita Narain and NP Ashley, for allegedly going against the constitution of the college.

The notice issued by Justice C Hari Shankar fixed 12th June as the next date for the hearing. A press release issued by him said that the counsels representing the faculty members argued that the decision “went against the constitution of Stephen’s College which expressly prohibited interference of the Supreme Council in the administration of the college.”

It further stated that “the counsel also pointed out the observation of the Supreme Court in the St. Stephen’s case of 1992 where the Supreme Court had held that admission of students was an essential facet of the of the administration of the college.”

“It had also approved the of the selection mode which at that time only had the principal and teachers of the department concerned conducting the interviews for admission of student,” it said.

The Supreme Council includes six members of the Governing Body of the Church of North India. The Chairperson of both the Governing Body and the Supreme Council is the Bishop of Delhi and the Member Secretary of both is the Principal of the college.

The decision was challenged for alleged violation of the constitution of the college. Clause 4 of the constitution reads, “The Supreme Council of the college shall have the control of the religious and moral instruction of students of the college and of all matters affecting its religious character as a Christian College of the Church of North India; and, in addition, shall appoint, after proper advertisement, the Principal of the College who shall be a member of the Church of North India or of a church that is in communion with the Church of North India.”

According to Clause 5, “The Supreme Council of the college shall have no jurisdiction over the administration of the college.”

Feature Image Source: St. Stephen’s College

Prateek Pankaj

[email protected]

(With inputs from ANI)

Anushree Joshi is trying to be a writer by procrastinating most days and writing on some (productive) nights. This over-thinker studies English literature at your anti-national, feminist hotspot Lady Shri Ram College, and has strong opinions on why your #IAmHumanistNotFeminist attitude is the problem with the society and the system of patriarchy. She writes 1000-word articles, reiterating why To Kill a Mockingbird is the greatest lesson in empathy, and argues that Manto should be taught in schools and colleges. If you wish to rant or report or want me to write your story, mail me at [email protected].

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