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HC declines urgent hearing of plea seeking stay on St Stephen's College admission interviews

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday declined to give an early hearing to a plea seeking an interim stay on the interview process for admissions of Christian students to St Stephen's college of Delhi University.

A vacation bench of Justices Jyoti Singh and Manoj Ohri said the matter was already listed before the single judge on July 2 and, therefore, there was no urgency.

Taking note of the view expressed by the bench, the petition -- which also challenged the single judge's June 12 decision not to interfere with the interview process -- was withdrawn by the petitioner N P Ashley who is a teacher as well as a member of the college's Governing Body.

Ashley's lawyer, advocate Sunil Mathews, had sought an urgent hearing as the admission interviews, were scheduled to commence from Friday, June 28.

However, the bench refused to hear it, saying that the single judge on June 12 while listing the matter for hearing on July 2 had noted that interviews would commence before that.

By the June 12 order, the high court had refused to stay the interview process for admission of Christian students in St Stephen's college.

The order had come on a petition filed by three teachers of the college against the inclusion of a member of the institution's Supreme Council in the interview panel for the selection of Christian students.

The teacher-members of the college's Governing Body -- Ashley, Abhishek Singh and Nandita Narain -- have challenged a decision taken by the Supreme Council at its meeting on March 12.

According to the petition before the single judge, in the March 12 meeting it was decided to have an additional Christian member nominated by the Supreme Council or the Governing Body to be part of the interview panel in respect of admission of Christian students in all subjects.

The Supreme Council is higher in authority than the Governing Body of the college, comprising members from the Church of North India and also those nominated by it.

The teachers have contended that the "interference" of the church in the admission process was against the norms of the college.

However, the college, before the single judge, had claimed that the petition was not maintainable as neither any fundamental right nor any statutory or legal right of the petitioners was violated.

The college had urged the single judge to dismiss the petition alleging that the teachers had not approached the court with clean hands and the plea had been moved with oblique motives.

An earlier statement by the three teachers had said the Supreme Council's decision went against the Constitution of St Stephen's college, which expressly prohibited interference of the council in its administration.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, June 26 2019. 16:20 IST