SC upholds IIT-JEE entrance module
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Last Updated: Thursday, October 13, 2011, 21:52
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 assumptions.

"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 candidate.

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 board.

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 bench said.

The bench said courts will interfere only if they find violation of statutory rules and regulations, mala fides or ulterior motives.

"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 appeal.

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 evaluation.


First Published: Thursday, October 13, 2011, 21:52

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