There might be no autonomy for St Stephen College which is affiliated with Delhi University, following an adverse legal opinion that the UGC (University Grants Commission) has received affirming so. The report states that the legal opinion received by the higher education manager has decline the chance of the college acquiring autonomy any time soon.
This year, in the month of May, a team of UGC inspectors visited the college and filed a positive report advising autonomy. On 24 May, a meeting anticipated, the UGC was expected to officially approve the team’s advise. However, the lawyers of UGC have advised them not to let institution affiliated to DU be allowed autonomy unless the university Act is amended.
DU Act, Clause 9A, states that the university can only authorize its colleges to conduct “courses of study in the Faculties of Medicine, Music or Fine Arts, Technology, as autonomous colleges”. This Clause means that for anything apart from the above-mentioned disciplines, the law has to be rectified.
On 22 May, Minister Prakash Javadekar, Human Resource Development (HRD) was forced to call for an crucial meeting, following protests by teachers and students. St Stephen’s College and Hindu College’s representatives were included in meeting. In the meeting, it stated that the process to apply for autonomy was proposed by St Stephens without equity consultations with stakeholders. This move by the college is towards the privatisation of education, said by teachers present at meeting. It is also said that no DU college can become autonomous unless the University Act is rectified. The HRD ministry has asked the UGC to look for legal action but on 24 May, discarded it during the meeting.