St Stephen’s can choose its own principal
The Delhi HC made it clear that St Stephen’s College was free to choose its own principal and DU had no business to interfere in the matter, report Harish V Nair & Ritika Chopra.education Updated: May 27, 2009 10:19 IST
The Delhi High Court on Thursday made it clear that St Stephen’s College was free to choose its own principal and Delhi University had no business to interfere in the matter.
The order came on a petition filed by the college, contending that a clause in the Delhi University Act interfered with its right to choose its own principal.
This provision—Clause 7(2) of Ordinance XVIII—says that a six-member selection committee formed by the university will look into colleges recommendations for appointments to principals’ posts and finally approve one from that list.
The court upheld the contention of St Stephen’s lawyer Romy Chacko that the clause was “unconstitutional” when applied to a “minority educational institution” since Article 30(1) of the Constitution granted every minority institution the power to choose its own head.
The appointment of the St. Stephen’s principal has been under the scanner ever since Dr Anil Wilson, the institution’s head for many years, resigned from the post in 2007.
Dr Valson Thampu, who was appointed as Officer on Special Duty, too, stepped down in March this year after being involved in a controversy regarding the veracity of his Ph.d.
A Bench of Chief Justice AP Shah and Justice S Muralidhar said the college can go ahead with the process of appointing a principal and fill up the post within eight weeks.
The court made it clear that the only restriction that can be imposed is to prescribe the qualification for the principal’s post.
The university said its role in a college’s selection process was essential to maintain “uniformity in educational standards”.
Earlier this month, St Stephen’s had sent letters to a dozen candidates, intimating them about the interview for the principal's post on August 16. The Supreme Council later postponed the interview and chose to wait for the HC verdict. With a judgment in its favour, the college will soon decide on a fresh date, said sources.
“It’s too early to say anything as the Supreme Council members first need to take a look at the copy of the judgment first,” informed a source.
Dr Valson Thampu, acting head Dr MS Frank, Dr Shobhna Bhattacharya, a reader in the department of English of Jesus and Mary College, Dr Amit Abraham of St John’s College in Agra and Dr Pervez Dean, principal of Christ Church College in Kanpur are among the candidates who will be interviewed by the council.