The admission criteria for undergraduate students at one of the country’s premier colleges, St Stephen’s College, are under the scanner this year.
First, Sonal Anugrah Singh, the son of Delhi Bishop Sunil Kumar Singh, was called for interviews and granted admission under the Church of North India (CNI) category. This was when Sonal didn’t meet any cut-offs.
Now, another candidate Vivid Alex Kumar, the son of Reverend Suresh Kumar — secretary at Delhi Diocese and a member of St. Stephen’s College governing body — has been given admission in BA programme. Vivid, too, didn’t meet the cut-off; he wasn’t even called for an interview.
According to the new admission guidelines adopted by the college this year, the merit difference between the reserved category and the general category cannot exceed 15 per cent. The college had scrapped the 60 per cent eligibility criteria for Christian students to bridge the merit gap, making getting admission tougher for those applying through CNI.
Vivid, who applied through the CNI quota, has an overall percentage of 65 per cent; His best of four subjects is 70 per cent. However, his marks are well below the minimum cut-off of 80 per cent for students belonging to the CNI Delhi category.
Sonal, a Commerce student, scored 69.2 per cent overall, while his best of four subject stands at 72 per cent. He was called for interviews for BA (Hons) English, History and Philosophy, and BA Progr-amme. The cut-offs for the four subjects for Commerce students hailing from CNI Delhi Diocese is 82 per cent for Eng-lish, and 80 for the three other courses. Sonal was enrolled with BA (Hons) English.
College authorities have said that Sonal was granted a seat under the supernumerary category: wards of college’s teaching and non-teaching staff are given admission over and above the allotted number of seats. Vivid, too, has been given a seat under the same category.
“How can Bishop Singh and Reverend Suresh Kumar be passed off as college staff, when they are members of the governing council?” a teacher of the college said.
Principal Valson Thampu said: “I do not deny that the candidate in question has been granted admission, but I am not under any obligation to discuss the matter with the media.”
Parents of students belonging to the CNI category, in particular those who secured much higher marks than the two students mentions earlier, are outraged at such out-of-turn admissions and have described such actions as a “betrayal of the interests of the CNI”.
Media adviser and admission tutor Nandita Narain said:
“The principal has used his discretion in the matter. I was just given the application for admission and cannot comment further.”
Sources said out-of-turn admissions of the sons of the members of the governing body is part of a “deal” to put an end to the infighting in the college within the governing body and supreme council.