Noted alumni of St Stephen's college including historian Ramachandra Guha and Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian were denied entry into the campus to attend a condolence meeting for a popular dhaba owner Rohtas, as no prior permission had been sought for the event.
College Principal Valson Thampu said the college was not a "public park" anyone could walk in without following the protocol.
65-year-old Rohtas, who was loved by generations of Stephen's alumni for his samosa and gulabjamuns, died last week due to tuberculosis and pneumonia.
Around 100 alumni of the institution had gathered outside the campus on Saturday for a prayer meet for Rohtas but they were denied entry by the guards.
Rohit Bansal, a former trustee of the St Stephen's College Alumni Foundation Trust who was among those who had gone to pay their tributes to Rohtas, said they were not allowed to go for the prayer meeting and were told to state a different purpose for the visit.
"We were about 100 alumni including Ramachandra Guha and Subramanian waiting outside the main gate at around 2 PM when we were denied entry. We called a few teachers who suggested us that we should enter from other gates and not mention prayer meet as a reason for our visit," Bansal alleged.
Later, Guha and Subramanian were able to enter the college with few other alumni but many of them could not manage to do so, he added.
Defending the move, Thampu said, "if they are alumni of the college they should know that there are certain protocols that are followed due to security reasons. Also, no permission for holding such an event on the college premises was sought, so anybody who would visit without prior information will be denied entry."
"The college campus is not a public park where one can move without following standard procedures of the institution," he added.
The alumni had also stood by Rohtas in 2012 when the college was mulling denying permission to him for running the eatery as it was allegedly giving competition to college cafeteria.
Later, Thampu issued a statement saying, "It is unfortunate that some senior members of the college have chosen to disregard the elementary fact that the St Stephen's is a public institution, and not a private home/property. As such, any event that is proposed to be held within the campus must be sanctioned by the administration."
"This is the norm followed by all institutions, and it is unlikely that the organisers were ignorant of such elementary and established protocol. Appropriate procedures and permissions have to be sought and obtained," he said.
Failure to do so is tantamount to "trespassing" and disrespecting the institution, "seriously compromising the campus security where large number of lady students reside," he said.