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La Martiniere schools get administrator

A former high court judge was appointed as an administrator to oversee the daily management of the schools till further orders
La Martiniere for Boys

TT Bureau   |   Calcutta   |   Published 25.07.19, 08:13 PM

The high court on Thursday appointed a former judge of the court as an administrator to oversee the daily management of the La Martiniere schools till further orders.

All decision by the schools’ board of governors have to be vetted by Justice Tapan Dutta, the administrator.

The division bench of Justice I.P. Mukerji and Justice Md. Nizamuddin said in its interim order the board would run both La Martiniere schools under the supervision of Justice Dutta, a La Martiniere alumnus himself.

The order follows an appeal by the board of governors against an interim order by Justice Arindam Sinha of the court, which barred the board from taking any decision till July 31.

The La Martiniere board comprises two permanent ex-officio governors — Reverend Paritosh Canning, the bishop of the Calcutta diocese of the Church of North India, and Swarup Bar, the presbyter of St Andrew’s Church — and four nominated acting governors.

The ex-officio governors had appealed against the July 12 order by Justice Sinha, submitting that the restriction would affect the daily functioning of the schools.

There have been a slew of court cases involving La Martiniere since Reverend Probal Kanta Dutta, former bishop of Calcutta, was transferred to Durgapur on June 10. His departure was followed by reversal of several decisions taken during his tenure in regard to the schools’ management.

Former secretary Supriyo Dhar was reinstated replacing Michael Shane Calvert, the Anglo-Indian community’s representative in the Bengal Assembly.

The four acting governors nominated during Reverend Dutta’s tenure — Gerry Arathoon, secretary and chief executive of the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations; Anjali Das, principal of United Missionary Girls High School; Suchitra Guha, former Tata Steel HR head; and Anil Mukerji, Tollygunge Club CEO — were replaced.

The new nominated members on the board are Most Reverend Prem Chand Singh, moderator of the synod of the Church of North India in Delhi; Alwan Masih, general secretary of the synod; Abir Adhikari, vicar of St Paul’s Cathedral, Calcutta; and Terence Ireland, principal of St James’ School, Calcutta.

The acting governors who were removed had moved the high court challenging the decision of the two ex-officio governors to remove them from the board. The July 12 order was based on their petition.

“We will abide by the court order,” secretary Dhar said.

The La Martiniere alumni on Thursday expressed concern over the ongoing litigation and said they were keen to “see the impasse being quickly resolved” so that the schools’ name did not get tarnished.

“Alma (Association of La Martiniere Alumni) is keen to see the impasse being quickly resolved and the litigation being disposed of. Alma will do everything in its power to ensure that the glorious history of La Martiniere schools remains unblemished and students, both past and present, can continue to feel proud of their alma mater…,” the Alma executive committee said in a statement issued during the day.

The president of Alma, Vishal Jhajharia, said: “We are not taking any side... we are neither with the current board nor the previous one. We just want that the matter should be resolved as quickly as possible and the board can function normally.”

Alma has thousands of members around the world and its release says: “For Alma, La Martiniere is not just the school of their members, it is their heritage and identity, with indelible bonds that link them for a lifetime.”

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