New Delhi: Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit was today restrained by the Delhi High Court from naming his group of old St Stephens College students as “Saint Stephens Alumni Association” but was allowed to call it “Old St Stephanian” instead.
The Lok Sabha member from East Delhi seat was asked by the bench of Justice V K Jain to call his group “Old St Stephanian” with a disclaimer that the group is not the college-approved one.
The court gave its order on a plea by St Stephen’s College of Delhi University objecting to Dikshit’s move to set up his own group of students from his alma mater and naming it as “Saint Stephens Alumni Association” after a row between him and his college authorities.
“The defendant (Sandip Dikshit’s society) is restrained from using the name of Saint Stephens Alumni Association and also restrained from using the official crest logo or motto of the St. Stephens College, Delhi as the domain name,” said Justice Jain on a plea by the college for stopping Dikshit from using its name in any manner.
While allowing Dikshit to name his group as “Old St Stepenians”, Justice Jain “the defendant will be entitled to use name of the association of Old Stephanians subject to the condition that it will display an appropriate disclaimer on its website as and when it is started under a new domain that it is not the official/approved/recognised alumni of Association of St. Stephens and it has no connection or affiliation either with the St. Stephens College or St.
Stephens College Association and Executives,” the court ruled.
Objecting to the East Delhi MP’s move to set up his own group of students from St Stephens College, the college, in a civil suit, said there already exists a College’s alumni association called “St Stephen’s College Alumni Association and Executive” for the last 50 years and is involved in various constructive activities for welfare of the institution.
The college alleged in its suit that the society ‘The St Stephen’s College Alumni Association’ promoted by Dikshit was created to interfere in the functioning of the college with a mala fide intention.
According to the college, Dikshit wanted to influence control of his alma mater and hence had got a member of the alumni association of the college 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,” said the college in its suit.
After the board withdrew Dikshit’s nomination, he allegedly adopted a hostile attitude towards the college, accusing it of being a “communal institution”.
Citing the names of other institutions which have used the domain name of the college, Dikshit’s counsel argued the name St Stephens College is being used by a number of institutions and his society’s name should be allowed by the court.
Reacting to the High Court judgement, St Stephen’s principal Valson Thampu expressed his happiness but said he was anguished that he had to go to the court on this issue.
He said he was forced to litigate to “protect the image, integrity and interests of the college” and this did not make him happy personally.
The Principal, who has been engaged in a prolonged slugfest with Dikshit, said the college will not allow anybody to “defame or cheapen” the hallowed institution or to lead it into “a theatre of power-mongering or adventures of arrogance”.