The staff of Delhi’s St Stephen’s College will hold a protest dharna against the inclusion of a member of institution’s Supreme Council in the interview panel for selection of students, on Friday. Teachers will stage a dharna outside the college’s front gate.
“The teachers will wear black bands and hold posters. Our demands include preserving academic integrity of admission process, withdrawal of warning letters to teacher representatives on governing body, upholding teachers’ dignity and safeguarding the college constitution,” said Nandita Narain, one of the three members of the governing body who condemned the institution’s decision.
The protest call prompted college authorities to put up a notice signed by Principal John Varghese on Thursday, saying there should be no “disturbance of working environment” in the college and those doing that will be dealt within the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules. The college has also banned the entry of media persons on the premises. According to the Central Civil Services Conduct Rules, no government servant shall make any statement of fact or opinion which has the effect of an adverse criticism of any current or recent policy of the central government or a state government.
However, the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) said the CCS rules apply to bureaucrats and not to teachers.
The notice put up by the college authorities also stated that there are examinations being conducted at present in the institution and any form of disruption to the exams will be dealt with strictly.
The Supreme Council is a subset of six members of the Governing Body (Managing Committee) and comprises all members of the Church of North India.
According to the college constitution, the Supreme Council of the college shall have the control of the religious and moral instruction of students of the college and of all matters affecting its religious character as a Christian college of the Church of North India.
Three members of the governing body — Narain, NP Ashley and Abhishek Singh — condemned the “illegal and unacademic decision taken by the Principal”, that “could compromise the academic integrity of our admissions process” while demanding its withdrawal. They were also issued warning letters.