The supreme council of St Stephen’s College on Friday decided to offer the post of principal to Dr Valson Thampu, a former officiating principal of the college.
Thampu had resigned from the post in March 2008 after his appointment was declared “patently illegal” after a controversy over his PhD in theology. Thampu was given preference over his closest competitor Dr Shobhna Bhattacharya, reader in the Department of English at Jesus and Mary College, due to his administrative experience.
Sources said the supreme council of the college would offer the post to Thampu. The council is yet to make a formal announcement.
“If he refuses to accept, then the post will go to Bhattacharya,” a source said.
At least 12 candidates were on Friday interviewed for the principal’s post. Others in the fray were the acting head MS Frank, Dr Amit Abraham of St John’s College in Agra and Dr Pervez Dean, principal of Christ Church College in Kanpur.
Teachers at St Stephen’s College questioned the news of Thampu’s appointment stating that the names had to be sent to the university for clearance.
“After both the names are sent to the university, it is up to the Vice Chancellor to pick one,” said a faculty member.
However, the supreme council sources said there was no such requirement.
“The Delhi High Court has ruled that Clause 7(2) of the Ordinance XVIII is unconstitutional when applied to a minority educational institution. It has said that Delhi University has no business to interfere in the matter,” said a member of the council on conditions of anonymity.
The clause says that a committee formed by the university will look into the recommendations for appointments to principal’s posts and finally approve one from the list.
Earlier, the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions had declared Thampu’s appointment illegal. A petition filed by a college alumnus with the commission had raised doubts over the genuineness of Thampu’s PhD degree.
Later, the University Grants Commission wrote to the university stating that the Theology PhD held by Thampu was recognised by the commission.