The inequitable allocation of online application fees required to be paid by OBC and EWS category applicants as part of the DU admission process sparked complaints from students.
After the University of Delhi (DU) commenced its admission process for the 2020-21 session with the release of its online application forms on 20th June, a particular arrangement in the fee structure of the forms caught the attention of eagle-eyed students, who didn’t hesitate in letting their displeasure known. EWS category students have been allocated a fee of 300 rupees per course application while on the other hand, OBC students have been asked to pay 750 rupees for the same.
The particular bone of contention in this fee discrepancy issue is the fact that the economic criteria laid down for students to make them eligible to avail their OBC and EWS benefits are the same – an annual income of 8 lakh rupees. OBC candidates with a family income higher than 8 lakh rupees are excluded from the benefits system. This fee arrangement sparked indignant protests from OBC students, as well as general category students, who termed it discriminatory and illogical. While EWS category students have been grouped under the same fee structure as SC, ST and PwD candidates, OBC category students have been grouped with general category candidates.
In a letter addressed to the Chairperson of the National Commission of Backward Classes, Amisha Nanda, a student at the University’s Faculty of Law, raised the aforementioned issue and demanded immediate rectification, writing, “Social justice is being blown open. Such small discrepancies hurt the constitutional policy directive of proper social participation, and social justice in education and employment, and also shows an attempt to create discrimination between all the backward and poor communities of the society. We demand the price of the admission form to be ? 300 for immediate OBC students as well. This stands in the interest of a large number of students and teachers of a hundred-year-old University”.
Conversely, a University of Delhi associate professor saw no issues with the fee arrangement, and on the condition of anonymity, opined, “The very point of having an EWS category for students was to decrease the economic difficulties that they face with regards to application and tuition fees, hence their grouping in the “300 rupees” section is justified. As for OBC students, their reservation was based on sociological factors, and not primarily economic difficulties. The fact they are receiving reserved seats is good enough. The “8 lakh annual income” cap issue which they raised, was not introduced to help the economically backward classes, but to prevent the creamy layer from acquiring OBC benefits. Hence their grouping in the “800 rupees” category is justified.”
As of now, there has been no response from the University of Delhi’s administration, nor any official intimation from a Governmental authority. Further developments shall come to light in the coming days.
“The registration fee for OBC (NC) candidates in Delhi University is similar to Unreserved category while EWS category is paying equivalent to SC/ST categoryAmit Kumar, Student of LLB, Delhi University says.
On representation from different groups including me, letter has been issued by National Commission for Backward classes to UGC to issue guidelines to all University including Delhi University to make fee structure for OBC (NC) and EWS category equal within 15 days.”
However, even he is yet to hear back from the authorities on this decision. As the last date for filling the registration form for admissions to the varsity, 18th July, draws closer — the uncertainty still looms.
Feature Image Credits: Saubhagya Saxena for DU Beat