St. Stephen’s moves court against Sandeep Dikshit’s society


New Delhi: The tussle between one of India’s leading educational institutions, St. Stephen’s College, and a society founded by Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit has entered the courts with the college filing a petition to stop the society from “misusing” its name.

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The college’s suit filed in the Delhi High Court said there already existed an alumni association promoted by the college and called “St. Stephen’s College Alumni Association and Executive” since last 50 years. It was involved in various constructive activities towards the welfare of the institution, it said.

The society promoted by Dikshit and others, “The St. Stephen’s College Alumni Association”, was alleged to have been created for interfering in the functioning of the college and with mala fide intentions.

St. Stephen’s alleged that Dikshit had wanted to influence control of his alma mater and hence had got a member of the alumni association, Nirmal Andrews, to suggest his name for nomination to the organisation’s board.

“By December 2009, the composition of the plaintiff’s (alumni association) governing body changed substantially. As a result, in the perception of the Defendant No. 6 (Dikshit), the secret motives of controlling and interfering in the college became untenable,” read the suit.

After the board withdrew Dikshit’s nomination, he allegedly adopted a hostile attitude towards the college, accusing it of being a “communal institution”.

The college also alleged that Dikshit along with others tried to create differences between members of the alumni association, and that they were annoyed because the college did not allow admission norms to be relaxed for their “chosen candidates”.

“The plaintiff understands that the defendants were also annoyed with the fact that they would not be able to take charge of the substantial funds that would be contributed by the alumni.”

“The defendants chose not to stop at such actions and went further with their malicious and mala fide objectives to form and register a society using the name of the plaintiff, having objectives that are clearly intended to interfere in the management and administration of the plaintiff,” the petition added.

Dikshit or other members of the society “The St. Stephen’s College Alumni Association” could not be reached by phone.

The society’s media co-ordinator Ashish Joshi, however, commented on the first day’s hearing on an open Facebook group — stephanian.

“Interesting day in High court Delhi today… ‘Theatre of absurds’… they want us to change the name of our Association from ‘St. Stephen’s College Alumni Association’ to ‘The Alumni Association’… :-),” read Joshi’s post.

St. Stephen’s principal Valson Thampu declined to comment on the matter contending it was sub judice.