October 11, 2021 7:30:41 pm
Dismissing a petition challenging the admission policy of Delhi University for undergraduate courses, the Delhi High Court Monday said certain state boards may have evolved different manners of assessment of class XII students, leading to some variation in the average results, but that does not render the varsity’s admission criteria “manifestly arbitrary” to require the interference of the writ court.
The court made the observations in the order dismissing the petition, which sought a stay on the admissions to UG courses on the ground that the marking system of state boards was not in uniformity with the scheme approved by the Supreme Court for CBSE. The petition also said that while a large number of students of state boards scored 100 per cent marks, only 550 students of CBSE scored above 99 per cent.
As a result, the cutoffs in admissions for colleges under Delhi University have gone up to 100 per cent, said the petition while arguing that the policy is inherently discriminatory towards students of CBSE. The petitioner prayed for a scaling mechanism to equalise or moderate marks scored by students of different examination boards.
However, the court said that the petitioner — a CBSE student who scored 98 per cent marks in Class XII and could not get admission in the course of her choice due to the 100 per cent cut-off — has not been able to demonstrate any practice in previous years which may lend support to her case that the university is bound to take into account the differences in marks awarded by different boards while determining the cut-off for undergraduate admissions.
“The petitioner’s grievance with regard to the assessment in the present year is also untenable. As a consequence of the pandemic and in a situation where it was impossible to hold examinations, the CBSE came out with an alternative scheme of assessment, which was in fact approved by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court came to the conclusion that subject to incorporation of a mechanism for dispute resolution and a time frame, the scheme would be an appropriate manner of assessment,” said Justice Prateek Jalan in the order.
When the petitioner’s counsel argued that a disproportionate number of applicants from Kerala are being admitted in Delhi, the court said it cannot decide the number of students, which should be from Delhi or any other place. “I am saying the rationalisation you are giving… is it post hoc rationalisation that ‘because it is leading to X number of students being admitted from one particular board, therefore it shows that there is something wrong in the admission process’,” observed the court.
The Delhi University counsel argued that the admission process was being followed throughout and that it cannot discriminate between different boards. “This was the policy which we have adopted for all the times to come; now the thing is if there are more students who have scored 100 per cent marks by one particular board, being a central university we cannot deprive them. Being a central university, we have to invite applications from all boards,” the counsel representing the varsity submitted.
When the petitioner, a student from Chennai, herself addressed the court and argued that her right to equality was being violated, the court said, “As you grow, sometimes you will have to take the cookie as it crumbles. In some years, a particular board may have better results, a particular board may have less good results. We have to accept that.”
The court further told the student that she has got admission into a good college and a good course. “There is no reason to feel disheartened. If you want to do Economics Honours, I am sure there are other colleges where you will get admissions with the kind of marks you have scored. There are a number of other colleges, great universities all over India. Please don’t be disheartened by not getting into one particular college. You are a young person, your whole life is ahead of you. Take the opportunities you get and make the best of them,” it said while addressing the petitioner.
The petitioner, an 18-year-old, in her plea said that she applied to foreign universities and was also given offer letters by them but she wanted to study at Delhi University. She told the court she has been able to get admission in a BA programme of Lady Shri Ram College but wanted to study BA (Honours) in Economics.
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