The apex court on Monday allowed IITs, NITs, IIITs and government-funded engineering colleges to admit students on the basis of the JEE (Advanced) merit list, bringing to an end the uncertainty over the admission process.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra, A M Khanwilkar and M M Shantanagoudar vacated the July 7 stay order which had brought the counselling and admission process to a halt. The court had questioned IITs' decision to award 18 bonus marks to all students over wrong questions. The SC said its 2005 verdict --that bonus marks for wrong questions could be given to only those students who attempted the question--could not be applied this year as there was negative marking in JEE. The bench also took into consideration that around 33,000 students had already taken admission so far this year and any interference at this stage would create further confusion. It turned down the plea of a dozen students seeking its direction to IITs to revise the merit list by scrapping the bonus marks given to all 1.56 lakh examinees who took the test. The top court, however, expressed concern over wrong and vague questions being framed in the prestigious IIT entrance examination and directed the Centre and IITs to file an affidavit assuring that such a mistake would not occur in future.“We vacate the order passed by us. We are not inclined to interfere,“ the bench said on Monday . Apprehending that some students might approach high courts over the bonus marks controversy , the bench restrained HCs from entertaining any such plea.
The apex court bench was examining the decision of IITs to award 18 bonus marks to all candidates who appeared in the examination (11 marks for incorrect questions in Paper II and seven marks for incorrect questions in Paper I) irrespective of whether they had attemp ted to answer the questions.The petitioners contended that the IITs' decision to award bonus marks to all was arbitrary and illegal. They said their overall rank had gone down by several notches due to the controversial decision, and pleaded for a revised merit list without bonus marks.
Around 1.7 lakh students had registered for JEE (Advanced) in 2017 and 1.56 lakh appeared for the test. In all, 50,455 students were declared to have qualified and they are vying for 11,032 seats across 23 IITs.
Justifying its decision, IITs told the bench that the issue was examined by its expert bodies which came to the conclusion that awarding bonus marks was the only practical solution. It ruled out reevaluation of answer papers saying it was not possible as 1.56 lakh students had taken the examination.