Ordinary People Don’t Have Multiple Credit Cards’: SC Asks IIT to Admit Dalit Student
‘It would be a grave travesty of justice to the young Dalit student who has to finally move this court, is turned away from its portals.’
‘Ordinary People Don’t Have Multiple Credit Cards’: SC Asks IIT to Admit Dalit Student
The Wire Staff
New Delhi: Asking IIT Bombay to adopt a humanitarian approach, the Supreme Court directed it to allocate within 48 hours a seat to a Dalit student who could not deposit his fees as his credit card was not functioning.
The apex court exercised its plenary powers to direct IIT to allocating a supernumerary seat to the Allahabad boy, saying it would be a travesty of justice if he is turned away from the Supreme Court. It also made essential observations on the financial abilities of ordinary people, noting at one point that many do not have “multiple credit cards” with them to make heavy payments.
A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and A.S. Bopanna said, “This court has before it a young Dalit student, who is on the verge of losing a valued seat which has been allocated to him at IIT, Bombay, The travails of the appellant has taken him from Allahabad, where he is currently studying, to Kharagpur and Bombay and eventually to the national capital. Having regard to the facts of the case, it would be a grave travesty of justice to the young Dalit student who has to finally move this court, is turned away from its portals.”
The bench noted that if the petitioner Prince Jaibir Singh, who had an all-India rank of 864 in the SC category in the IIT entrance exam, is not admitted in this academic year, he will be ineligible to appear for further entrance examinations as he has attempted the exam twice, successively.
The petitioner has said that he was allocated a civil engineering seat in IIT Bombay but could not make payment for the seat acceptance fee as his credit card did not work despite several efforts.
On October 15, the Union government, reported LiveLaw, issued a brochure for joint seat allocation for academic programmes offered by the IIT, NIT, and other engineering institutions for 2021 to 2022. The Joint Seat Allocation Authority or JOSAA portal was open for online reporting for the first round till October 31. Within that date, relevant documents as well as acceptance fees had to be paid. When Singh tried to pay the fees on October 29, he failed as he was short of funds.
In his plea, filed through advocate Pragya Baghel, Singh said that the next day, he had tried to book the seat after his sister sent the money but could not do so. He said he wrote several emails and made calls to the management authorities of IITs but did not receive any response. Failing to get any relief, he then approached the Bombay high court seeking directions to IIT Bombay but his plea was dismissed on technical grounds.
On November 18, the apex court came to the aid of the student and said that the “court must sometimes rise above the law” as “who knows 10-20 years down the line he may be the leader of our nation.”
On Monday, the Supreme Court said it is of the view that this was a “fit and proper case where the exercise of jurisdiction under Article 142 of the constitution is warranted at the interim stage”.
Article 142 deals with the enforcement of decrees and orders of the Supreme Court.
“We accordingly direct the first and second respondent (IIT Bombay) to ensure that the seat which is allocated to the appellant shall be allotted to him at IIT Bombay. This shall be done without disturbing any other students, who have already been admitted,” the bench said.
The top court said that the creation of supernumerary seats in the facts of the present case shall be subject to the admission of Singh being regularised if any seats fall vacant as a result of exigencies, which may arise in the course of the admission process.
“Parties shall act on the certified copy of this order and implement these directions within a period of 48 hours that is by November 24,” the bench said.
During the hearing, advocate Sonal Jain, appearing for Joint Seat Allocation Authority (JOSAA) and IIT Bombay, said that there are no more seats available in any of the IITs across the country as the admission process is complete. The court can pass an order under Article 142 for allocating a seat to Singh, Jain said.
The bench said, “Look at the background of the child. He has to borrow money from his sister after his credit card malfunctioned. Don’t be wooden like this. We can pass an order under Article 142 but that may not be favourable for IITs. You can adopt a humanitarian approach and explore the possibilities. Explain this to the chairman.”
The top court also said that many seats get vacant after students take admission in various other institutes to further their career and the IIT should look and allocate one such seat to this student.
“Something has to be done for this student. It is elementary common sense, which students would not like to get into IIT Bombay and not pay Rs. 50,000 fees? It is obvious that he has some financial problems. He has to borrow money from his sister. These students study years after years for this exam. Look at their background,” the bench said.
Jain said that there are seven other students, who despite being allocated the seats could not pay their fees and the court must consider this fact.
The bench added that IITs should have a robust system in place to rule out any such situation in the future because students from even rural parts of the country study hard to make it through this examination.
“Ordinary persons do not have multiple credit cards with them. They have limited options to make payments. Otherwise, you will only have students from metropolitan cities and not from rural parts of the country,” it said.
Courtesy : The Wire
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