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Tuesday 28 January 2020

‘Christian candidates’ cut-off marks at St Stephen’s too high’

Christian member nominated by the Supreme Council or the Governing Body to be part of the interview panel in respect of admission.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday asked St Stephen’s College to file a reply on its professor’s plea alleging large scale discrepancies in the cut-off marks notified for Christian students, of reserved categories, who applied for various undergraduate courses.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued a notice to the college asking it to file its reply to the petition which also alleges discrepancies in the cut-offs for non-Christian SC/ST and physically handicapped (PH) applicants.

The court has listed the matter for further hearing on July 11.

The plea by professor Nandita Narain has contended that the college on June 26 notified “artificially high and illegal cut off marks for various courses” for Christian students belonging to ST, others and PH categories.

The college issued a corrigendum on July 2 reducing the cut-offs in some courses but it was not announced publicly, she has contended.

The petition has sought directions to the college to ensure that the discrepancies are rectified and the correct number of Christian and non-christian students, belonging to the various reserved categories, are called for the interviews and written exams relating to admission to the undergraduate courses.

It has also urged the court to quash the June 26 notification and issue directions to the college to “rework and renotify” the cut-offs.

During the brief hearing, the college told the bench that the instant petition was similar to the one filed by the petitioner and two other professors of the college before a single judge during the vacations.

In the petition before the single judge, the three professors have challenged the inclusion of a member of the institution’s Supreme Council in the interview panel for the selection of Christian students for admission to the college.

They 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 in the other plea 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.

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