The Supreme Court on Friday restrained the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) across the country from conducting further counselling and admitting students on the basis of the results of the IIT-JEE (Advance) 2017 results, till further orders.
A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar also restrained high courts across the country from entertaining any fresh petition relating to the counselling and admissions to the IITs from Friday onwards.
It directed the registeries of the high courts to inform it about the number of petitions challenging IIT-Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) 2017 rank list and awarding of additional marks to all candidates who had appeared in the test.
The Bench directed that copies of the order be sent to the Registrars General of all the high courts and posted the matter for further hearing on July 10.
During the hearing, Attorney General K K Venugopal urged the court to suggest an equitable solution as there were a huge number of students who had taken examination.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for some of the candidates, said the action of the IITs in awarding “bonus marks” to candidates for the defective questions given in the JEE (Advanced) 2017 examination was “utterly wrong” and violated the right of all the students.
The Bench suggested that the solution was that those who had attempted such questions shall be awarded bonus marks. It said the court will go by its earlier judgement of 2005 and added that bonus marks cannot be given to those who have not attempted the questions.
Venugopal pointed out that there was negative marking for every unsuccessful question and there may be some students who had opted not to answer “the said vague questions fearing negative marking”.
Therefore, across the board bonus marks were given to the candidates, otherwise the IITs would have to strike down the marks, he said. The A-G appearing for IITs said it was difficult to re-evaluate the answersheets of over 200,000 students who took the examination and awarding of bonus marks across board was the most practical solution.
He said till now, over 33,000 students have taken admission in various streams of courses in premier engineering institutes of the country.
The Bench said it would try to find a solution to the problem which needs to solved at the earliest, but as an interim measure, the IITs should not conduct further counselling and take admissions on the basis of the JEE-2017.
It said the admission to the IITs can only be allowed after deciding the validity of award bonus mark for wrong question to all students.
On June 30, the apex court had issued notice to the Ministry of Human Resource Development on a plea seeking quashing of the IIT-JEE 2017 rank list.
The petition, filed by an IIT aspirant Aishwarya Agarwal, had sought the court’s direction to declare that the action of awarding “bonus marks” to candidates who had appeared in the JEE (Advanced) 2017 examination was wrong and violated her right, as well as that of other students.
Since then several other students have approached the apex court seeking quashing of rank list.
Several IIT aspirants in their plea have sought a direction for preparation of the all-India rank list after rectifying the scores of JEE (Advanced) and also award marks for the incorrect questions to the candidates who had attempted the right answers.
As an alternative, the petitioners said the institution should conduct fresh examination and prepare a fresh merit list or grant all students another opportunity to appear in the examination to be conducted next year.
The petitioners have also sought an interim stay on the merit list and the counselling, saying it would cause serious prejudice to the petitioner and other deserving candidates.