29 April 2023 4:33 AM GMT
The eligibility criteria of minimum 75 percent marks in Class 12 board exams for admission to NITs, IIITs, CFTIs/GFTIs is a sound, well considered policy decision, the National Testing Agency has told the Bombay High Court.“It is respectfully submitted that the requirement of securing minimum 75% marks in Class 12/ qualifying examination or being in top 20 percentile in Class 12...
The eligibility criteria of minimum 75 percent marks in Class 12 board exams for admission to NITs, IIITs, CFTIs/GFTIs is a sound, well considered policy decision, the National Testing Agency has told the Bombay High Court.
“It is respectfully submitted that the requirement of securing minimum 75% marks in Class 12/ qualifying examination or being in top 20 percentile in Class 12 examination conducted by the respective boards for admission in NITs other CFTIs / GFTIs is a conscious, well considered, and sound policy decision taken with the approval of JEE Apex Board”, Vinod Kumar Sahu, director of the NTA stated in an affidavit filed yesterday.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice Sandeep V Marne had earlier asked NTA to explain the purpose of eligibility criteria of 75 percent marks in boards despite there being an entrance exam for admission to the institutes.
The affidavit, filed in a PIL seeking relaxation of the 75 percent eligibility criteria for admissions to IITs, IIITs, NITs, CFTIs/GFTIs before the High Court states that conducting a third session for JEE Mains 2023 in May is unsustainable.
“conducting another session will have an adverse cascading effect on the entire academic calendar and all the subsequent activities including admissions and counselling rounds which will be delayed thereby eventually affecting the academic activities thereafter”, the NTA has stated.
This eligibility criteria is the norm since 2017, and was only relaxed as a temporary measure for the academic years 2020-21, 2021-22, and 2022-23 due to the COVID pandemic, the affidavit states.
Sahu was responding to two interim applications in the PIL, one by a candidate seeking to intervene and praying for relaxation of the criteria and another by the petitioner herself seeking a relaxation as well as a third session for JEE Mains 2023 in May.
He clarified that his response is only regarding eligibility criteria for admissions to NITs, IIITs, and CFTIs/GFTIs, as criteria for admission to IITs are notified by the Organising Committee of JEE Advance, a separate body. This year, IIT Guwahati is the organising institute, which is not a respondent in the PIL.
The affidavit states that in 2014, the Joint Admission Board (JAB) approved the Joint Implementation Committee’s recommendation to include this eligibility criteria. The Council of IITs accepted this recommendation in September 2014, after which the Ministry of Education department notified the criteria in JEE Main 2017, according to the affidavit.
As the 75 percent criteria was the norm, the contention that it came as a “bolt from the blue” is baseless, the NTA has said adding that the petitioner and the students cannot claim the continuation of the exception, i.e., relaxation of the eligibility criteria, as a matter of right.
According to the affidavit, top 20 percentile was introduced as a criteria as it takes into account the variations in exams conducted by different boards and is non-discriminatory. Since different boards evaluate differently, percentile system has been used to ensure fair comparison of students belonging to different boards, the NTA has said.
According to the affidavit, the Council of Boards of School Education in January has already written to all boards for notifying the list of category wise cut off marks for the top 20 percentile candidates in the respective Class 12 examinations for 2022, 2023 and 2021 (candidates whose results were declared after October 25, 2021).
The affidavit states that there is no set schedule for declaration of the Exam Schedule and notification of the JEE Main Information Bulletin. As the admissions for 2022-23 concluded in October, 2022 delayed due to COVID, the NTA published the Information Bulletin for JEE Main 2023 in December, 2022 after all the meetings and deliberations, as per the affidavit.
NTA has stated that another session is a huge logistical exercise entailing colossal cost and manpower apart from infrastructure arrangements. Conducting another session of the JEE Main 2023 is a major concern for availability of quality test centres with required infrastructure, trained examination personnel etc. for conduct of the examination, as per the affidavit.
The High Court has earlier rejected the prayer for postponement of JEE Mains 2023 examination.
The PIL contends that many candidates are from batches that were not assessed on the basis of performance in the previous years as the board exams were cancelled due to COVID pandemic. According to the petition, there are students with less than 75% marks but could perform well in JEE Mains and if fair chance is denied to them, it will affect the future of lakhs for bright students.
The petition states that the NTA notification came at the end of the academic year. The eligibility criteria should not be changed suddenly as the students have been preparing with the expectation that it will be the same as that of last year, the petition contends.
Case Title – Anubha Srivastava Sahai v. National Testing Agency