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HC stays suspension of St Stephen’s student by principal

Delhi high court

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today stayed the order of St Stephen’s College Principal Valson Thampu suspending the student editor of its banned e-zine for “violating” discipline, asking whether anyone can be suspended for speaking to the media.

The court also stayed the findings of a one-man inquiry committee, appointed by Thampu, which had on April 9 held third-year student, Devansh Mehta, guilty of violating disciplinary norms of the college.

It directed the college not to give an award, the list of which included Mehta but dropped later due to the controversy, to anyone till the next date of hearing.

“Notice to all respondents (Delhi University, St Stephen’s College, Valsan Thampu, Sanjay Rao Ayde). Meantime, impugned order dated April 15, suspending petitioner from the college as well as findings in the April 9 report of the inquiry committee is stayed,” Justice Vibhu Bakhru said.

Mehta, a Philosophy student and the editor and co-founder of ‘St Stephen’s Weekly’ e-zine that was banned by the college last month, was suspended from college till April 23 following the report of the inquiry committee of Prof Sanjay Rao Ayde.

During the brief hearing, the court also rapped the Delhi University for claiming that the petitioner was guilty to some extent as he had not denied the charges against him.

“This does not inspire any confidence,” the court said and asked, “anyone who speaks to the media, will you suspend him?”

“You should play an impartial role,” the court told the University.

The court also directed that the award, Rai Saheb Banarsi Das Memorial Prize, for which Mehta was earlier selected by the college faculty but later dropped from the list in the wake of the controversy, be not given to anyone till the next date of hearing on May 21.

“It is necessary to protect the petitioner’s interest,” the court said, adding “you can’t strip someone of an award given to them”.

Mehta was to have received the prize from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who will be the Chief Guest at the college’s graduation ceremony tomorrow.

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