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The Delhi High Court has issued notice in a plea alleging large-scale discrepancies in the cut-off marks for Christian Scheduled Tribes (CST), Christian Others (COTH), and Christian Physically Handicapped (CPH) applicants for admission to undergraduate courses in St Stephen’s College, New Delhi.
Notice was issued to St Stephen’s College by a Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar in a petition preferred by an Associate Professor in the college, Nandita Narain.
The petitioner has alleged that the cut-off marks for Christian Reserved category candidates for admission to various courses for academic session 2019-2020 are artificially high and illegal. It is contended that the College is guilty of “having neglected its own guidelines” in declaring the cut-off marks thereby denying admission to such candidates.
“the cut off marks were kept at a very high level for CSTs, CPH non-Christian SC/ST/PH candidates by not calling for the interview and written exam the prescribed number of candidates who would normally fall within the zone of consideration as specified in clause 11 of the Guidelines set out above. Clause 11 specifies that the candidates called for the interview and the written exam should be in a certain ratio to the number of seats available. The effect of clause 11 is that the candidate with the lowest marks in the zone of consideration determines the cut off marks. Thus if the number of candidates called for the interview and the written exam are lower than the prescribed ratio, the cut off
marks would be higher.”, it is explained.
The petitioner has also alleged discrepancies in the interview and written exam scheduled for July 5 for admission to the B.A Economics (h) course.
The petitioner thus “fears” that the discrepancies are “deliberate and malafide”, arising out of a “hidden agenda” decided upon by the Principal of St Stephens College, Prof. John Varghese.
Arguing that the Principal subverted the system and violated the Guidelines, the Petitioner claims that the decisions were taken in a non-transparent fashion and later the cut off marks were declared after taking the signature of the heads of departments on his decision.
The lack of transparency in the declaration of the list of the students called for interviews and written exam in each category has also been brought to the Court’s notice.
It is thus stated,
“the unlawful actions of the respondent no.s 1 (College) and 3 (The Principal) as described in this petition are in breach of Article 14 of the Constitution of India and the actions are arbitrary, irrational and harshly impact on the lives of the students who have been unlawfully excluded from the admission process.“
The petitioner, therefore, seeks to quash the decision regarding the cut-off marks for the academic year 2019-20 for Christain students belonging to Reserved category. It further seeks direction to St Stephen’s College to rework and renotify the cut-off marks for such candidates for all streams in accordance with the Guidelines.
The petition was filed through Advocate Siddharth Seem.
The matter would be heard next on July 11.