HC directs St Stephens to select principal within eight weeks

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New Delhi, Aug 21 (UNI) Delhi High court today directed St Stephens college to select a principal for the college within eight weeks.

A bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice S Murlidhar directed the college that since it is without a principal from January 2007, they should immediately start the selection process as per the rules of Minority institutions and appoint one within eight weeks.

The controversy arose when the college approached the Delhi High Court stating that the Delhi University was interfering in the selection process of the principal, whereas, the Minority institutions are not bound with their rules.

The college contended that a clause in the Delhi University Act interferes with its right to choose its own principal. This provision Clause 7(2) of Ordinance XVIII defines that a six-member selection committee formed by the university will look into a college's recommendations for the post of principal and finally approve one from that list.

Lawyer for St Stephens Mr Romy Chaku contended that the Delhi University imposing the clause upon them is unconstitutional as it cannot be applied to a minority educational institution. Article 30(1) of the Constitution grants every minority institution power to choose its own administrative head, Mr Chaku said.

The contention of the Delhi University was that its role in a college's selection process is essential to maintain uniformity in educational standards to protect it to degenerate into maladministration.

The contention of the Delhi University lawyer Maninder Acharya is that the clause was directly adopted from the guidelines of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and is a statute that has not been challenged in court.

After the controversial exit of Principal Reverend Valson Thampu in March, St Stephens is without a principal and has functioned under the guidance of Pro Tem Administrator M S Frank.


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