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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

St Stephen’s governing body raises more questions

The struggle for control of St Stephen’s College will take a new turn on October 28 when the 220th governing body of the college convenes.

Written by Deepu Sebastian Edmond | New Delhi |
October 21, 2009 12:11:01 am

The struggle for control of St Stephen’s College will take a new turn on October 28 when the 220th governing body of the college convenes. Governing body members say the agenda circulated among members by principal Valson Thampu,who is also the Member Secretary of the body,proposes merely a resolution in a situation where an amendment would be necessary.

The resolution — the 17th on the agenda — proposes to replace the Synodical Board of Higher Education (SBHE) with the CNI Commission on Education in the college constitution. This would mean that the representative of the SBHE in the governing body would now have to be replaced by a representative of the CNI-CE.

Governing body members say Thampu is trying to push the resolution through unnoticed to avoid the rigorous exercise of amendment. “I think he is trying to test the resolve of the governing body first by keeping the issue of amendment alive for a fight at a later date,” a teachers’ representative said.

He also added that SBHE and CNI-CE are separate legal entities and therefore,an amendment is necessary.

The SBHE,a group of three boards,was dissolved in August 2008. Enos Pradhan is SBHE representative in St Stephen’s governing body and his term runs out in April 2010. Pradhan,also the general secretary of the newly formed CNI-CE,is virtually guaranteed to continue as a member of the governing body if the resolution is adopted.

Interestingly,in a petition listed before the Delhi High Court on October 14,former governing body member Ajay Singha has called Pradhan’s appointment “illegal”.

Governing body members,meanwhile,claim that the proposed resolution is a result of an MoU signed between Bishop Sunil Singh and Thampu on September 8.

A document that seeks to follow up on the MoU calls for an “Amendment of the College Constitution to recognise the indisputable right of the Synod of the Church of North India or any of its constituent bodies to have at least one representative on the supreme council/governing body of the college in all circumstances”.

It has,however,come to light that the Bishop wants an expansion minus Pradhan,whose resignation he has sought. “I need not stress the obvious that with the dissolution of the SBHE,the right of nomination and representation that accrued to the said body comes to an end,” he maintained in an email to the Moderator Bishop Purely Lyngdoh on August 9 this year.

With the governing body and the Bishop against him,the only person rooting for Pradhan seems to be Thampu. “I am writing this to affirm that no uncertainty remains about your membership in the GB/SC of the college. I wish to thank you for your gracious willingness to continue to serve the College in these capacities,” he said in a mail to Pradhan on August 6,2009.

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