A section of teachers of St Stephen’s College on Tuesday moved the Delhi High Court against the governing body’s decision to amend its constitution and increase the control of the Church of North India over the institution.
Challenging the November 30 decision of the governing body, the 21 teachers have said the amendment of the constitution without Delhi University’s (DU) consent would completely alter the basic structure and character of the college.
The petitioners claimed that such a step would “jeopardise the very status of the college as an affiliated and recognised institution”.
“Respondents 4 to 6 (principal, chairman and vice-chairman of St Stephen’s) have mischievously sought to amend the constitution of the college, thereby increasing the control of the Church of North India over the college and giving controlling interest to respondent 4 (Valson Thampu) after his retirement in February 2016,” the petition said.
The teachers said the “amendment process is tainted by a malicious objective of securing control of the college to persons such as Respondents 5 to 6 (chairman of St Stephen’s, Warris Massih and vice chairman of St Stephen’s Alwan Massih) who themselves are currently illegally on the governing body and aims to cover up their illegal memberships and functioning in respect of the college.”
They sought directions to prohibit the chairman and vice-chairman and their nominees in the general body from functioning in the body with respect to the amendment of the constitution.
The petition requested the court to issue directions to prohibit the amendment of the constitution without the approval of DU, the ministry of human resource development and University Grants Commission.
Thampu, who will retire in February, has come up with a draft amendment proposing that the principal be empowered to take disciplinary action against students or staff irrespective of the governing body’s opinion.
He called for giving a major say to the Church of North India in the functioning of the college, handing over the powers to appoint faculty and admissions to its Supreme Council and recasting the composition of the governing body.