Plea Against Interview For Unreserved Seats: Delhi HC Issues Notice To St. Stephen's College
The Division Bench of Delhi High Court comprising of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Datta today issued notice to St. Stephen's College in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed challenging the admission process followed by the College for its unreserved seats.
The petition before the High Court was filed by a law student, Konika Poddar, through Advocate Akash Vajpai.
Earlier, the University of Delhi had issued its admission policy for the academic year 2022-23 wherein it had mentioned that the admission to the unreserved seats in its minority colleges like St.Stephens will be done only on the basis of marks obtained in Common University Entrance Test(CUET) while on reserved seats minority colleges can give 15% weightage to the interview and 85% weightage to the CUET score at the time of admission.
However, St. Stephens announced that it will give 15% weightage to interview and 85% weightage to CUET Marks even for admission to its unreserved seats for undergraduate courses.
The Petitioner has sought direction to St. Stephen's College to conduct admission to its unreserved seats of undergraduate courses only on the basis of marks obtained by the students in his/her CUET exam as mandated by the University of Delhi.
The Petitioner has also prayed for issuance of direction to University of Delhi to implement its admission policy for the academic year 2022-23, approved by its Academic and Executive Council, in true letter and spirit vis a vis unreserved seats of Minority Colleges in undergraduate courses.
The Petitioner has averred that "if the academic and executive council of the University has made the rule that the admissions to all the affiliated and constituent colleges shall be made on the basis of marks secured in CUET examination it is binding on St. Stephen's College also irrespective of its minority character."
The Petitioner has further contended that "the method of interview in the present case results into discrimination and is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution as it has no reasonable nexus with the object of affording an equality of opportunity of education at graduate level."
"National Education Policy has clearly elucidated that the entrance to Higher Education should be through Common Entrance Test at the national level so that there is uniform standard of bench marking of candidates" the petition says.
The petitioner has contended that "in the past, students used to be under huge stress to secure more than 95% marks in Class XII Board Examination so as to get admission in the University of their Choice. With the introduction of CUET the stress on them for securing very high marks in the one and only Board Examination stands reduced. Secondly, Marks given by different Boards vary widely on account of the typology of questions and the scoring pattern. These things will now get standardised under CUET. Third, The question paper pattern in CUET will be objective type comprising Multiple Choice Questions and hence evaluation will be objective."
The petitioner has claimed that CUET is the best way to select students, unlike the interviews where the award of marks is left to the subjective satisfaction of the selection committee and gives room for discrimination and manipulation.