HAVING MISSED a seat in Jai Hind College by a mark in the first round of junior college admissions, Siddharth Palrecha was confident of securing a seat in the second round. However, he was surprised he didn’t make it to any of the four colleges he had opted for, when the list was announced on Thursday.
“Apart from Jai Hind, my son had applied for HR College, KC College and NM College for admission in commerce stream. He has scored 90.4 per cent in his class X board exam. We were sure he would get a seat in one of these colleges,” said Siddharth’s mother Madhu.
Like Siddharth, many high scorers were confused after they were not allotted a seat in any junior college after the second merit list was announced Thursday. “We only received a message that as per our preference, there were no vacancies in the colleges,” said Madhu, who was one among hundreds of parents who queued up outside the office of deputy director of education on Charni Road on Thursday.
The state government’s move to return vacant quota seats to the college, in line with a court ruling, has thrown the admission process out of gear, as most of the sought-after colleges did not have any seats left in the general category.
Of the 800-plus junior colleges in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, around 500 are minority colleges. Colleges such as KC, Jai Hind, Mithibai and HR did not release merit list for general category students for most courses as all their non-quota seats were filled up.
The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court had on July 16 asked the government to return all vacant quota seats to the college, which could admit students to those seats at their levels. Any vacant quota seat would be added to the Central Admission Process only at the end of the online admission process.
Earlier, according to rules, colleges could surrender their vacant quota seats — minority (50 per cent), management (20) and in-house (5 per cent) — for online admissions. However, these seats were left out of the online admission process after the Nagpur bench ruling.
This gap has led to confusion among candidates, who had waited for a better option in the second round. At least 20 parents, whose wards could not get a seat despite scoring above 85 per cent, have written a letter asking the education department to drop the online process for admission.
“We are being told that admissions to the vacant quota seats will be done after the fourth merit list on first-come-first-serve basis. This is unfair to candidates who have secured good marks,” said Madhu.
Mithibai College Principal Rajpal Hande said: “It is utter chaos as the order came in the middle of the admission process. Deserving students have been left in the lurch.”
Meanwhile, Suvarna Kharat, deputy secretary, school education said: “The vacancies were higher before the Nagpur bench judgment came out but now the second merit list has been prepared only on the remaining 25 per cent seats of minority colleges. This is why many students could not get a seat.”
She said the department would publish a fresh seat matrix displaying the existing vacancies and the quota seats that are also vacant.
“Applicants will be allowed to fill their choices before the third merit list based on this seat matrix. After all four rounds are over, we will take a call on whether or not to allot the remaining seats on merit basis or first-come-first-serve basis,” said Kharat.