Devansh Mehta, editor and cofounder of the online magazine ‘St Stephen’s Weekly’, moved the Delhi high court against the college and its principal Valson Thampu on Thursday. Mehta challenged his suspension and the ban on the e-zine’s publication.
On April 15, Mehta was suspended for nine days till April 23 after a one-man inquiry committee appointed by the college principal found him guilty of “breach of discipline”.
Mehta, a third-year philosophy student, was allegedly suspended for launching the online magazine without getting clearance from the college principal.
The college banned the e-zine started by Mehta and other students over an interview of the principal, which, he said, had not been cleared. The e-zine went live on March 7 and registered over 2,000 hits.
In his petition, Mehta called the ban “arbitrary, illegal, malafide and shockingly unreasonable”.
“The main malicious accusations against the petitioner (Mehta) in this case are twofold — that of publishing an online magazine without taking prior approval from the principal and subsequently conveying the news of the proscription of this magazine to the media,” said the plea.
Mehta sought “quashing of the order banning/suspending publication of the St Stephen’s Weekly, stay on the suspension order and restraining the principal from taking any further action against him”.
Mehta has requested in his petition that he be awarded the Rai Saheb Banarsi Das Memorial Prize, for which he was earlier selected by the college. He was dropped from the list in the wake of the controversy.
In an e-mail last month, Thampu had said, “It is unacceptable that, despite being explicitly told not to publish anything (especially my interview before I had the time to go through and clear the text) you went ahead in defiance… It denotes an awkward failure of education and that is why I cannot take it lightly.”
The online magazine was taken down on March 12 and the domain name now leads to a dead link.