New Delhi: The governing body of Delhi University’s St Stephen’s College has objected to the inclusion of a member of its Supreme Council in the interview panel for selection of students, saying it is a violation of the college constitution. The Supreme Council is a subset of six members of the Governing Body (Managing Committee) and comprises all members of the Church of North India.
According to the college constitution, 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.
The announcement to include a member of the Supreme Council was made at a meeting of the college’s Staff Council held on Monday. Professor John Varghese, the college principal made the “shocking announcement”, according to a statement issued by three members of the governing body.
The three members — Nandita Narain, N P Ashley, Abhishek Singh condemned the “illegal and unacademic decision taken by the Principal”, that “could compromise the academic integrity of our admissions process” while demanding its withdrawal.
The trio said all the permanent teachers present at the meeting protested strongly against the “unilateral” announcement. “The decision is in violation of the College Constitution that categorically stipulates that the Supreme Council shall have no jurisdiction in the administration of the college,” the statement read.
No immediate reaction from the college was available. The 1992 judgment of the Supreme Court that upheld the minority status of the college had permitted the college to have a separate admissions process including an interview with 15 per cent weightage only because the interviews were conducted solely by the teachers of the college, the statement said.
“Never in the history of the College has a non-academic person from outside the faculty of the College been a member of the admissions process. In the meeting of the governing body held on March 14, no such decision had been announced by the principal,” the statement claimed.
The teachers alleged the decision was “in violation of the powers of both the Governing Body as well as the Staff Council”. “There is a clear conflict of interest in the principal bringing in another member of the Supreme Council into the interview panel for admissions, as it is the Supreme Council that selects the Principal, and will also take a decision about the renewal of his appointment for another term of five years,” the statement said.