The principal of St.Stephen’s college has announced that the interview panel constituted for this year’s undergraduate admissions will include one member from the Supreme Council of the college, which consists of six members from the Church of North India (CNI). For the first time in the College’s history, a non-academic person who is not even a faculty member has been made part of the admissions panel.
Permanent teachers who were present during the meeting when the principal made the announcement protested against the decision and called it a case of conflict of interest. Three Assistant Professors, who are representatives of the teachers in the governing body, issued a press release stating that the decision is against clauses 4 and 5 of the Constitution of the college.
Clause 4 of the constitution states, “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.” Clause 5 states that “the Supreme Council of the College shall have no jurisdiction over the administration of the College.”
The members of the governing body have pointed out that the unilateral decision of the principal is in violation of the powers of the governing body as well as the Staff Council, as laid down in Ordinance XVIII of Delhi University. The teachers as well as students’ unions have raised apprehension that the present move will lead to “backdoor entries” and corruption in the admission process. The college has issued warning letters to the three teachers as a retaliatory action.
The minority status of the college and the system of a separate admission were upheld by a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court in St. Stephen’s College V. University of Delhi. Teachers allege that the new decision of the principal is against the spirit of the Judgment of the Supreme Court.