DU seeks UGC intervention in reappointment of John Varghese as principal of St Stephen's College

DU writes a letter to the UGC seeking intervention regarding the reappointment of John Varghese as principal of St Stephens College.


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St. Stephen's College. (Picture: Official)St. Stephen's College. (Picture: Official)

Press Trust of India | November 18, 2022 | 07:35 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Delhi University has sought the UGC's intervention in the matter related to the reappointment of professor John Varghese as principal of St Stephen's College, alleging that his extension is "ultra vires" of the provisions of the commission's act.

In a letter to the secretary of the University Grants Commission (UGC), DU assistant registrar noted that the university is "constrained" from recognising Varghese as principal of the college ever since his five-year term ended last year in February. "The intervention of the UGC is very kindly solicited to preclude any act of defilement of UGC regulations by the St. Stephen's College and other colleges as well," the letter read.

Varghese was appointed as the principal of St. Stephen College on March 1, 2016 for five years. The supreme council of the college approved the extension recently. The university and Varghese have been at loggerheads over the admission policy for several months. In the letter, the DU said the college has been repeatedly justifying the reappointment of Varghese by citing the resolutions of its Supreme Council. However, in the UGC regulations, there is no provision for such a council.

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"It may be noted that the UGC Regulations, 2018 does not provide any exception to any category of educational institutions from complying with the norm for reappointment of principal or have a different provision for reappointment of principal, after completing the first term through any body," the university said. "Accordingly, such act of reappointment/extension of the term of Varghese by the so-called Supreme Council of the college is ultra vires of the provisions of the act, statutes and ordinances of the University/UGC regulations referred above," it added.

In August, Delhi University wrote to St Stephen's governing body chairman Prem Chand Singh, declaring the reappointment of Varghese as the principal of the college as "null and void", saying it was not done through due process. In the letter dated August 22, the university alleged that the appointing authority of St. Stephen's college did not pay any attention to the provisions of the UGC regulations.

In its reply, the college has informed DU that Varghese has "every legal right" to continue as principal and all "applicable regulations" were followed in his reappointment. In a second letter to Singh in September, DU directed the governing body of the college to follow UGC regulations for the appointment of principal "in true spirit", days after it termed Varghese's reappointment "illegal".

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