In a surprise move, Delhi University has decided to add five supernumerary seats per college for admissions in the current academic year, with relaxation of up to 10% in the cut-off, citing the Covid-19 pandemic. These students will have to pay the same fees as other students.
The move has come under criticism from some quarters, with teachers and students asking if this would be akin to “management quota” and allow “backdoor entry” to certain candidates. Four Academic Council (AC) members have written to Acting DU Vice-Chancellor P C Joshi to withdraw the notification.
University officials told The Indian Express the colleges would get to determine which five students would get admission, but there were no specified rules for selection yet.
“On the request of principals of the constituent colleges and the University of Delhi and elected Executive Council members, a committee was constituted to explore the possibility to provide few seats to the college(s) in view of Covid-19 pandemic for admission in UG courses (merit-based) over and above the sanctioned strength as supernumerary seats,” Registrar Vikas Gupta said in the notification dated December 21.
“The Competent Authority of the University has approved the recommendation of the committee for five admissions under ‘College-University seats’ in the current academic session 2020-21,” he wrote.
Of the five admissions, two “may be suggested” by the university, the notification said, adding, “The principal of the college shall submit the list of five candidates being permitted admission against these seats for the consideration by a committee constituted for the purpose by the University.”
“The merit of the candidates eligible for admission under ‘College-University seats’ shall ordinarily be up to 5% and in no case beyond 10% of the last cut-off issued by the college for the particular course for the respective category of the candidate,” it further said.
According to officials, one final cut-off for the current academic year is yet to come out, after which the selection on the supernumerary seats will take place. Only those students who have registered on the portal and submitted their application form for admission would be eligible.
This has prompted AC members Deo Kumar, Kanchan, Rajesh Kumar and Saikat Ghosh to write to Joshi, saying the admissions fell “within the purview of the Academic Council” and “any decision related to admissions has to be compulsorily deliberated upon and ratified” by the AC.
“The provision allows principals of the colleges to make up to five admissions almost entirely on a discretionary basis, of which two may be ‘suggested’ by the University. When there is intense competition to secure admission in DU colleges, such a move is not only totally unethical, it is also illegal,” they wrote.
Executive Council member Rajesh Jha also demanded that the notification be withdrawn. “We are totally against any type of discretionary quota. This is in gross violation of the principles of merit, inclusiveness and social justice,” he said.
Student groups Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and All India Students’ Association have also come out against the notification, threatening protests if it isn’t rolled back.
A senior DU official, however, said it was a “positive” move. “We got representation from principals saying some students couldn’t take admission due to difficulties because of the pandemic, and that there were contractual employees or ad hoc teachers whose kids don’t qualify for ward quota, so we decided to introduce this. This isn’t about favouritism,” he said.
“The discussion around selection of these students has been left to the principals. The relaxation in cut-off is not much, so there is no question of management quota or backdoor entry,” he added.
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