Stephen's, Sandeep Dikshit face-off over Facebook

College asks members of  alumni body founded by the east Delhi MP to refrain from describing themselves as 'Stephanians' on the institute's Facebook page

The tussle between Delhi University's prestigious St Stephen's College and the alumni body formed by east Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit has spilled over to the virtual world. The college has asked the association not to use the official Facebook page of the institute to invite others.

Dark chapter: Delhi University's St Stephen's college

In reaction to a Facebook post by one of the members of the alumni body 'Association of Stephanians' about the upcoming college reunion on December 11, the college has notified that the so-called association is not entitled to use the word 'Stephanians' on the college's official Facebook page.

Locking horns: East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit

However in a statement issued by principal Valson Thampu addressing the association, he said, "You are disallowed from holding any function on college campus at all times, unless permitted by me--for as long as I hold charge as Principal--in writing to the contrary. Also, you shall refrain from trespassing into the college campus under any pretext whatsoever."

Principal of St Stephen's College, Valson Thampu. File pics

Not the end of it
When we asked the association about the issue, one of the members, who is a civil servant said, "I wasn't aware of the notification till I was informed by the media. I think this preposterous as it is the Facebook page for all Stephanians. It doesn't matter what they say, we will post whatever we like as I just informed my friends about the annual reunion lunch on December 11."

Meanwhile, Thampu calling their act 'a mischievous intent' has asked them to not use the Facebook page for their own propaganda. But the association members justify their stand stating that the Delhi High Court (HC) order has allowed them to use the word Stephanians and they will continue to do so.

To this argument, however, Thampu has said that the HC has restrained them from representing anything, which has to do with the name, crest, tradition, customs and practices of the college. Besides, since the college does not recognise the association as their official alumni body, so the authorities maintain that it is any ways futile for the so-called alumni body to pretend otherwise.  One of the members of the association, Ashish Joshi, said, "I have every right to invite my friends over on Facebook to join any college gathering. They cannot bar us from entering the college at any cost."

Past tense
As reported in September this year, the tussle between one of India's leading educational institutions, St. Stephen's College, and a society founded by Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit entered the courts with the college filing a petition to stop the society from 'misusing' its name.  Dikshit lashed out soon after his removal from the governing body of the college and proposal to induct a sitting Delhi High Court judge Justice Sanjay Krishan Kaul. However, Dikshit was on board as the alumni representative to the body since October 28, 2009. The college's suit said there already existed an alumni association promoted by the college and called 'St. Stephen's College Alumni Association and Executive' since the last 50 years. It was involved in various constructive activities towards the welfare of the institution, it said. The court in its order restrained Dikshit from using the crest, logo or motto of his alma mater for promoting the association launched by him.

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