A petition criticising the petition the interview process of Christian candidates seeking admission at St Stephen's College was dismissed by the Delhi High Court.
A decision was taken that the Christian candidate would be interviewed by the board containing at least one Christian member nominated by The Supreme Council and the Governing Body & Society of St Stephen's College.
The Delhi High Court held,
“That the institute which is a minority institution seeks to maintain its Christian tenets and its Christian outlook and philosophy cannot be sought to be assailed by the petitioners on the anvil of Article 14 of the Constitution which in no manner is infringed in the instant case.” and dismissed the challenge
The petition was filed by three professors of the St Stephen’s College and the judgement was passed by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Anu Malhotra
The petitioners sought that no member apart from the Principal no member of the Supreme Council of St Stephen’s College shall not allowed sitting in panel for the interview process for the admission for the batch of 2019-20.
The Governing Body of the college usually consists of 18 people along with the Bishop of the Diocese of Delhi as the Chairman; the Supreme Council consists of the members of the Church of North India.
The petitioners felt that a "management quota" will be introduced due to the presence of the Christian member nominated from the Supreme Council or the Governing Body in the interview panel of the admission process. They claimed that such an interview panel would detract the eligible applicants from their rightful seats. It was submitted that no minority institution in the exercise of its rights under Article 30 of the Constitution of India could be allowed to indulge in maladministration.
The Christian member appointed by the Supreme Council from the Governing Body was a violation of Clause 5 of the Constitution of the college, which stated that the Supreme Council had no jurisdiction over the administration of the college.
The Supreme Council and the Governing Body & Society argued that Clause 5 could not be read in isolation. Clause 11 of the college’s constitution provided that a;ll the matters relating to the religious instruction or religious character shall be solely controlled by the Supreme Council.
It was yielded that the presence of the nominated person for the interview panel of a Christian candidate will not detract the merit of the candidate. The opinion of all the members of the panel will be taken into account and only then the final list will be announced.
The Court said, The Court recorded that the candidates called for the interview were those who achieved the requisite cut off marks, even for the Christian category. Thus, it could not in any manner be contended that the presence of a Christian member of the Governing Body on the interview panel for interviewing Christian candidates would in any manner impinge on the education standards of the institution.
The Court added that the oral test was not an exclusive test for assessing the ability of the candidate it was one of the tests conducted. The Court further said that all the members of the Governing Body were highly educated in their disciplines
The Court also added,
"Significantly, there has been no grievance put forth by any Christian student of being in any manner discriminated against by the decision."
The Court dismissed the petition as it was devoid of any merit.