Delhi University has directed the governing body of St. Stephen’s College to follow UGC regulations for the appointment of principal “in true spirit”, days after it termed Professor John Varghese’s re-appointment to the post “illegal”. In a second letter to the governing body’s chairman Bishop Prem Chand Singh in the last 30 days, the university on Friday stated it is constrained not to recognise Professor John Varghese as principal of the college ever since his five-year term ended.
Varghese was appointed the principal of St Stephen College on March 1, 2016, for five years. The supreme council of the college approved the extension recently. Delhi University had on August 22 written to Singh, declaring the reappointment of Varghese as the principal of St Stephen’s College “null and void”. Responding to it, St Stephen’s College informed Delhi University that Varghese has ”every legal right” to continue as principal.
The university wrote to Singh on September 16, mentioning several clauses of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to back its argument. “It is obligatory on the part of the college to follow the provisions of said UGC regulations in the matter of reappointment of the principal in letter and spirit. Not following the said provisions amounts to illegal and non-statutory continuation of Professor John Varghese as Principal of St. Stephen’s College,” the university said.
The college should “follow the UGC regulations in true spirit for the appointment of principal in the college and in absence of the same, the university is constrained not to recognize Professor John Varghese as principal of the college ever since his five-year term ended” The university and Varghese have been at loggerheads over the admission policy for several months. Several letters were exchanged in the past few months over their disagreement. The college had earlier said it will accord 85 per cent weightage to the Common University Entrance Test score and 15 per cent to physical interviews for all categories of candidates.
With the college refusing to do away with the interview process for admissions, the DU has said it is “firm” on its decision to declare “null and void” all admissions made by the college in violation of the CUET guidelines. The Delhi High Court recently directed St Stephen’s College to follow the admission policy formulated by Delhi University and accord 100 per cent weightage to the CUET 2022 score while granting admission to non-minority students in its undergraduate courses. The court’s order came on petitions by a law student and St Stephen’s College concerning the legality of admission procedure for admission of students against unreserved non-minority seats for undergraduate courses.