The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) to consider admitting a 23-year-old student, aspiring to enrol in a diploma course in the Industrial Design Centre (IDC), to a supernumerary or additional seat for current academic year or accommodate him next year, bearing in mind that it should not malign the ‘prestige’ of the institute.
However, the court said that despite its suggestion, it was of the opinion that it would not be required to interfere and issue specific directions to the institution to admit the student.
The HC held that though initially it was inclined to help the aspirant student who is from reserved category, it was not doing so as it found that both the institute and the aspirant were equally responsible for the situation.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni passed the ruling on a plea by Prathamesh Pedamkar, the student, who had completed selection process of the institute on July 21 this year and approached the HC through advocate Ashraf Shaikh after he failed to get the intimation email from the institute on August 2 and therefore lost the seat. The email was sent by the institute to all the students who were shortlisted and asked them to complete the admission process before August 6, which was set as deadline.
The student submitted that after the institute had changed its entire admission procedure due to the pandemic, it had been sending emails and phone messages to all aspirants regarding different stages of the admission process and he had responded to all such emails and completed the admission process that ended on July 21. Thereafter, the institute had informed that the selected candidates would be intimated through an email.
Shaikh said that it was only on August 21 that Pedamkar contacted IIT-B and was told that he had been shortlisted and an email had been sent to him on August 2.
The institute, through advocate Arsh Mishra, admitted that the email had not reached the petitioner student but said that if he had been diligent and checked the IIT-B website, he would have known about his selection in the final list and accordingly secure his admission. It said that it cannot be faulted due to lapse on the part of a student.
After hearing the submissions, the court had initially observed that it wanted to help the student and had asked the institute to admit him either in current academic year or following one without making him go through the process next year. However, since the institute refused to do so, the court referred to past judgments put forth by the student noting that the institute was asked to consider admitting a student to the current academic year by creating a supernumerary seat.
The bench noted in the order, “Both petitioner, who got no email but didn’t check portal, and IIT-B are at equal fault. Though inclined to grant relief earlier, we have left it to IIT-B director to add a seat, bearing in mind that rectifying an error would show it in better light, not lower its prestige.”
The court, however, directed IIT-B to convey its decision to the student within four weeks and also allowed him to take recourse to the appropriate remedy if he was not admitted by the institute.
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