Sunday, February 18, 2018
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It asks IITs to give an undertaking that awarding of bonus marks will not recur.

In a relief to over 50,000 IIT aspirants, the Supreme Court on Monday vacated its stay order on the admission process to the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) with regard to the granting of bonus marks to all candidates who appeared in the IIT-JEE (Advanced) 2017 examination.

A Bench, led by Justice Dipak Misra, said the court was not inclined to interfere and was lifting its stay order of July 7, leaving numerous students who had cleared the IIT stranded in the middle of the counselling sessions.

The court restrained the High Courts from entertaining any cases filed on the issue to "avoid any confusion" and sought details of any petitions pending before the courts. It has scheduled a detailed hearing on July 10.

The court issued a warning to the IIT authorities that such "kinds of errors in printing and framing of questions should not happen again".

Bonus marks were given to compensate for wrong questions in two of the papers. They were granted irrespective of whether a candidate had answered these questions or not. The exam was conducted this year by the IIT Madras and the decision to give bonus marks were taken by it.

The stay order was passed on a writ petition filed by Aishwarya Agarwal, who had taken the exam. Represented by senior advocate Vikas Singh, she had argued that a blanket award of 18 bonus marks to all candidates, across the board, was both “arbitrary and wrong”.

“To award these marks to all candidates irrespective of whether or not they they had even attempted to answer these questions is arbitrary and violative,” she contended.

The statistics revealed the aftermath of the authorities' action. Out of 1.59 lakh students who appeared for the exam, 50,455 were declared to be qualified for admission to various IITs this year. On the contrary, the petition contended, only 36,566 made it last year.

The JEE (Advanced) is the second phase of the IIT entrance tests and is conducted by one of the IITs annually. The All India Rank list is prepared subsequently and various IITs are allotted to successful candidates.

“Due to the distribution of bonus marks, nearly 20,000 students, who were not deserving, qualified the cut-off... this has adversely affected several meritorious students... Even a difference of one mark may lead to the falling of a candidate's rank by 1000 to 2000,” the petition said.

When the petitioner argued that the All India Rank list should be rectified after sifting students who had attempted the wrong questions from those who had not, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal said this would indeed be a labyrinthine task. On June 30, the court issued notice to the Ministry of Human Resource Development on a plea seeking quashing of the IIT-JEE 2017 rank list.

The petition said bonus marks should be given only to students who had attempted the question, or in the alternative, exam should be conducted afresh or even students allowed to appear in the next year's IIT entrance exam.

Courtesy: The Hindu 

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