Aspirants seeking admissions into Indian Institutes of Technology and National Institutes of Technology across the country will have to wait. The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the admissions conducted from the merit list of this year’s Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced) 2017, following a dispute over grace marks awarded to candidates.
“We are inclined to direct that no counselling or admission to the seats in IIT-JEE (Advanced) 2017 shall take place until further order,” said the bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar. The bench also restrained High Courts across the country from entertaining any plea in connection with the admission and counselling from today.
“It will affect admissions to all institutes which recruit from the IIT-JEE list,” counsel for the petitioner D K Devesh explained.
The order came on a plea by three students, who challenged the grace marks on the grounds that it had pushed them down the ranking. They objected to the fact that IIT had decided to grant bonus marks to all candidates who took the exam this year after the answer key to seven questions went missing. The petitioners contended that grace marks must have been given only to those who had attempted the question.
“When grace marks are given to those who did not attempt the questions, it puts those who attempted the question at a disadvantage. The latter spends two-three minutes attempting it while the former, who has not attempted it, uses this time for attempting other questions”, Devesh told The Indian Express.
IIT, however, opposed the contention in an affidavit filed in court. “It is respectfully submitted that the relief is entirely against equity since the process of seat allocation is going on and 29,425 candidates have already accepted the allotted seats and reported for physical verification of documents,” it said. “It is submitted that in case the ongoing counselling and admission process is disturbed, the admission procedure of more than 36,000 students in 97 institutes under the joint seat allocation programme for IITs, NITs, IIITs (Indian Institutes of Information Technology and GFTIs (Government Funded Technical Institutions) would be hampered.”
During the hearing, Attorney General K K Venugopal urged the court to suggest an equitable solution as there were a huge number of students who had taken examination.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for some of the candidates, said the action of the IITs in awarding “bonus marks” to candidates was “utterly wrong” and violated the right of all students.
The bench hinted that it may stick to its 2005 decision that in such situations, grace marks should be awarded only to those who had attempted the question.