This year’s admission cycle has once again been subjected to a tumultuous trajectory. On Friday, the Supreme Court stayed the counselling and admission procedure in IITs, NIITs, and all government-funded engineering colleges. The order was passed to counter IIT’s decision to compensate for the erroneous questions in the Joint Entrance Examination ( Advanced) paper by awarding them 18 bonus marks. It is reported that 33,000 candidates have already enrolled in IITs spread across the country.

The apex court, with Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar on the bench, ordered all engineering colleges to cease the admissions procedure until the marking controversy could reach a conclusive decision. The proceedings came into effect after two students filed a petition to contest IIT’s decision. “It is a problem and it has to be solved at the earliest … We will think about the solution but don’t create further confusion by giving admission,” The Indian Express quoted the bench.

The contention stems from IIT’s decision to award 18 bonus marks to all candidates for the incorrect questions in the paper. The breakdown of this includes offering 11 marks for incorrect questions in Paper II and 7 marks for incorrect questions in Paper I. The argument that whether the marks should be awarded to all the candidates or only to those who attempted the said questions has been brought to the fore by this restraining order.

However, the IITs have reasoned that the said solution cannot be executed. Appearing for IITs, Attorney General KK Venugopal has commented that the re-evaluation of the answer sheets of 2.5 lakh students was not possible. He further mentions the two courses of action implementable. “We do not know who took test in Hindi. It is very difficult to find out and that is why it was decided that bonus marks be given to all students. Till date, more than 33,000 have already taken admission and whole process would have to be started afresh if merit list is revised,” Venugopal said.

He further argued that out of the fallacious questions, two questions were there in only one set, out of a total of 10 sets of question papers which was in Hindi medium. The two practical options at hand, he says, are ether to continue with the bonus marks or to refrain from including the wrong questions.

IITs have filed an affidavit to fight the plea, which mentions:

It is respectfully submitted that the relief is entirely against equity since the process of seat allocation is going on and around 33,000 candidates have already accepted the allotted seat and reported for physical verification of the documents … It is submitted that in case ongoing counselling and admission process is disturbed, the admission procedure of more than 36,000 students in 97 institutes under the joint seat allocation programme for IITs, NIITs, IIITs and GFTIs (Government Funded Technical Institutions) would be scrapped.

The other side of the legal tussle is led by Senior Advicate Vikas  Singh and lawyer D K Devesh, who maintain that the decision taken by the leading engineering college is ‘arbitrary and illegal.’  The petitioners rationalised that despite clearing the exam, their ranks had been devalued substantially due to this mechanism.

The Apex court sought to cite a precedent of 2005 when the Supreme Court ordered that the awarding of bonus marks can ask be justified to those students who attempted the eponymous questions.

This year’s JEE Advanced was conducted on May 20th and the results were announced on June 11th, 2017. Every year lakhs of students eye the JEE entrance to enroll into the likes of IITs and NIITs. The bench has scheduled a hearing on July 10th to reach to a conclusion after examining all options.


Feature Image Credits: Hindustan Times


Saumya Kalia
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