New Delhi: The Supreme Court has refused to
interfere with the ranking and selection process adopted for
the prestigious IIT-JEE entrance exams saying there was no
arbitrariness or ulterior motives in fixing the methodology.
A bench of justices R V Raveendran and A K Patnaik said
courts would interfere with the procedure only if there was
proven malafide, caprice or arbitrariness, which it said was
lacking in the present system adopted by the The Joint
Admission Board, the nodal agency for conducting the exams
across the country.
"The fact that the procedure was complicated would not
make it arbitrary or unreasonable or discriminatory.
"There are several statistical methods of preparing the
ranking for the purpose of selecting the best candidates for
admission to a course, some simple and some complex. Each
method or system has its merits and demerits and can be
adopted only under certain conditions or by making certain
"Any such statistical technique should be under
continuous review and evaluation to achieve improvement in
the light of experience gained over the years and new
developments, if it is a reliable tool in the selection
process," Justice Raveendran, writing the judgement, said.
The apex court passed the judgement while dismissing the
appeal filed by an aspirant Sanchit Bansal, son of an IIT
Professor in Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur,
who had appeared in IIT-JEE 2006 as a general category
Admission to undergraduate courses in the 15 IITs is
through the Common Entrance Examination known as the Joint
Entrance Examination (for short IIT-JEE) conducted by the
Sanchit had secured 75 marks in Mathematics, 104 marks in
Physics and 52 marks in Chemistry, aggregating 231.
The Board had fixed the cut-off marks for admission as
37 for Maths, 48 for Physics and 55 for Chemistry and the
aggregate cut-off marks at 154.
As Sanchit did not secure the minimum of 55 marks in
Chemistry he was not qualified, even though his aggregate in
the three subjects was very high.
Aggrieved, he challenged the procedure on the ground that
even candidates who has secured less total aggregate marks
were selected, but his claim was rejected.
Rejecting the candidate`s plea, the apex court said
"for a layman, the above procedure may appear to be highly
cumbersome and complicated. But the object of the aforesaid
procedure for arriving at the cut-off marks is to select
candidates well equipped in all the three subjects, with
reference to their merit, weighed against the average merit of
all the candidates who appeared in the examination.
"Thus, the process of evaluation, the process of ranking
and selection of candidates for admission with reference to
their performance, the process of achieving the objective of
selecting candidates who will be better equipped to suit the
specialised courses, are all technical matters in academic
field and courts will not interfere in such processes,"the
The bench said courts will interfere only if they find
violation of statutory rules and regulations, mala fides or
"To be termed as arbitrary and capricious, the action
must be illogical and whimsical, something without any
reasonable explanation. When an action or procedure seeks to
achieve a specific objective in furtherance of education in a
bona fide manner by adopting a process which is uniform and
nondiscriminatory, it cannot be described as arbitrary or
capricious or malafide," the bench said while dismissing the
However, the apex court appreciated the petitioner for
raising the issue before the court as since then the IITs
have started adopting a more transparent method of