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St Stephen’s autonomy: UGC meeting gives it a miss, it will first seek legal opinion

On Tuesday, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar had met representatives of Hindu College and St Stephen’s College to understand why the matter of autonomy has sparked protests.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
May 25, 2018 3:17:50 am
Sources at the UGC told The Indian Express, “We dropped the item from the agenda today. We will take it up only after seeking a legal opinion.” (File)

A day after the government asked the University Grants Commission (UGC) to seek legal opinion before granting autonomy to St Stephen’s College, the item was dropped from the agenda of the UGC’s full commission meeting on Thursday. Sources at the UGC told The Indian Express, “We dropped the item from the agenda today. We will take it up only after seeking a legal opinion.”

DU Teachers’ Association (DUTA) president Rajib Ray also confirmed that he had got a call from the Principal Joint Secretary, UGC, as well as another official, informing him of the same. “They told me they were dropping the matter from today’s agenda,” he said. On Tuesday, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar had met representatives of Hindu College and St Stephen’s College to understand why the matter of autonomy has sparked protests. The meeting was also attended by UGC chairman DP Singh and Delhi University V-C Yogesh Tyagi.

“This last minute change in the agenda of the full commission meeting is due to continuous protests. This deferral, however, is no guarantee against the government’s plan to privatise its premier public-funded higher educational institutions. DUTA emphasises the fact that DU already has its own statutory autonomy inscribed in its founding Act, and its constituent colleges partake of this autonomy. In this context, no other form of autonomy that violates its founding Act, Statutes and Ordinances is legally tenable,” said Ray.

He added, “We shall continue to protest until the UGC assures that autonomy will not be forced on colleges or DU, and withdraws the March 5 notification on roster and restores the status quo on reservation in appointments. The advertised posts in DU should be filled immediately.” According to sources, during the meeting with Javadekar, the St Stephen’s College principal was pulled up for not bringing other stakeholders. The St Stephen’s Staff Association Wednesday even wrote to Javadekar in this regard.

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