Special Correspondent

Archbishop says Kerala University’s notice to Marian College had a hint of threat

College had made no promises to the University

Cross-subsidy of fee was rejected by court

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram M. Susaipakiam said that the church would strongly resist any move on the part of the State Government to deny minority communities the rights conferred on them by the Constitution and endorsed by the Supreme Court.

He stated this in a circular sent on Friday to all the dioceses under him by way of clarifying his position vis-À-vis the “widening differences between the church and the Government” on the issue of student admissions in self-financing professional colleges run by the church.

He said that a notice the Kerala University had sent to Marian Engineering College in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5 had the distinct hint of a threat. The notice had said that the college, when it started functioning, had promised the university that it would set apart 50 per cent of the seats for the [students in the rank list prepared by the] Government. The notice had also said that if the college were to refuse fulfilling this promise, the university would cancel its affiliation.

Dr. Susaipakiam said the Marian Engineering College had made no promise either to the university or the Government. Such a contention from the university had no relevance since the court verdict held that college management was entitled to all the seats in the college. The archdiocese could not, under any circumstances, agree with the Government’s stand that the college should cross-subsidise the fees of 50 per cent of the students at the expense of the students gaining admission under the management quota. The principle of cross-subsidy had been rejected by the court, he said.

He said that the Thiruvananthapuram Archdiocese had 17 primary schools, four upper primary schools, three high schools, six higher secondary schools, an engineering college, a B.Ed. college, a teachers’ training institute and a nursing school under it. Amassing profits had never been the intention of the archdiocese. On the contrary, these educational institutions were devoted for the poor, especially the poor fishermen community, which was backward economically.

No surplus

The fees collected from the students of two or three self financing institutions could hardly generate any surplus over operating expenses. The archdiocese had not been able to repay even a portion of the investments it had to mobilise to start the institutions, he said.