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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

SC Upholds HC Decision on St Stephen’s College Minority Admission Policy

On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected Delhi University’s request that admissions be based solely on performance in the entrance examination, allowing St. Stephen’s College to fill its 50% Christian minority quota seats using a 15% weighted interview and an 85% weighted average of candidates’ CUET scores.

The interim order issued by the Delhi High Court in favour of the college, which was being challenged by Delhi University and the University Grants Commission, was not interfered with by a panel of Justices A S Bopanna and P S Narasimha. The court stated that because the admissions process is nearing its conclusion, any meddling at this point would only increase confusion.

Tushar Mehta, the solicitor general, made an intense debate for the court’s intervention, arguing that the selection process has been compromised since students with lower CUET scores are being chosen due to the 15% weighting given to interviews, which are a highly subjective exercise. He said that the subjective component of the selection process effectively turned the 50% minority quota into “paid seats.”

The court rejected the university and UGC’s request for intervention at this time, noting that the interview process is now complete and that students have been chosen and are prepared to accept admission. However, the court added that the admissions made would be subject to the resolution of the legal dispute between the university and college.

We see no reason to intervene at this time since the order in question was an interim order issued by the high court in a pending writ petition and because the admissions were made contingent on the resolution of the writ petitions. However, taking into account the necessity for clarity in the matter, we ask the high court to hear the parties’ arguments and resolve the petitions as quickly as feasible, the bench stated.

On July 21, the HC gave the college permission to hold interviews for the purpose of admitting students who qualified for the minority quota. Additionally, it made it possible for Jesus and Mary College to interview candidates for the seats set aside for students from minority groups.

The Delhi University (DU) had decided to insist on 100% weightage for the CUET 2023 score for admission against the minority quota, and the two minority colleges had asked the High Court to postpone that decision till December 8, 2022. The court claimed to have decided that St. Stephen’s College was allowed to conduct interviews with a 15% weighting for minorities, but the university made the choice without thinking it through.

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