3 Aug 2021 5:12 PM GMT
The Kerala High Court on Friday ruled that prospectus approving the Lateral Entry Scheme intended to admit eligible meritorious students to the third semester of the B.Tech courses was valid in law. A Division Bench of Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly upheld the decision of the Single Judge while dismissing the appeals filed before it, finding that the appellants...
The Kerala High Court on Friday ruled that prospectus approving the Lateral Entry Scheme intended to admit eligible meritorious students to the third semester of the B.Tech courses was valid in law.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly upheld the decision of the Single Judge while dismissing the appeals filed before it, finding that the appellants failed to make out a case for interference with the same.
The batch of appeals was filed by students and management of several self-financing colleges challenging the decision of the Single Bench in the matter.
The Single Judge had ruled that the prospectus issued by the Director of Technical Education regarding Lateral Entry (LE) Scheme, intended to admit meritorious Diploma / D. Voc / B.Sc holders to the 3rd semester of the B. Tech courses, to acquire a degree in Engineering was right and in accordance with the law.
The APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University cancelled registrations of students admitted under the Lateral Entry Scheme since they were not included in the rank list prepared by the Commissioner of Entrance Examinations.
Consequently, the University requested private self-financing institutions to ensure that those students do not attend the B. Tech S3 (R) Dec 2020 (2019 scheme) exam scheduled to commence on 15th April 2021.
The appellants argued that the prospectus clearly applies only to the admissions conducted by the Commissioner of Entrance Examinations to the Government Colleges. Therefore the findings rendered by the Single Judge that the prospectus applies to Private Self-Financing Colleges cannot be legally and factually sustained.
Similarly, it was alleged that as per the provisions of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University Act, only the University could make provisions for fixing the eligibility qualifications for admissions and the method of selection. The Government has no power at all in issuing a prospectus affecting admissions to Management Quota. Therefore, provisions of the Prospectus could apply only to Government seats.
A mention has also been made to an agreement allegedly entered between the Managements Association and the Government, which the respondents alleged to be the source of power for Government to make decisions. However, the appellants contended that this agreement was not applicable to Lateral Entry Admissions.
Therefore, the preliminary argument of the appellants was that Single Judge fundamentally erred while trying to trace the source of power to the Government to an agreement, while there was no agreement at all for Lateral Entry admissions.
They further contended that the respondents had abused the process of the Court.
Senior Advocate Kurian George Kannanthanam assisted by Advocates P. M. Saneer, S. Krishnamoorthy, Abdul Jawad K., Sherry J. Thomas, R. T. Pradeep, Liju V. Stephen, K. A. Abdul Jaleel appeared for the appellants.
Standing Counsel for the Univserity Advocate Elvin Peter and Senior Government Pleaders Surin George Ipe and Aravind Kumar Babu apperaed for the State.
Observations of the Court:
The Court observed that during the previous years the selection conducted was on the basis of a prospectus issued by the State Government on the basis of an entrance examination and the list prepared in accordance with the rank secured by the students in the entrance examination.
The qualifications were however prescribed for participating in the selection process by the All India Council for Technical Education. Therefore, the contention that the State is not vested with the power to issue the prospectus was not found to be a sound legal argument.
The Court observed that it is clear that merely because there are unfilled seats in a particular year, the Managements are not entitled to admit students by their own volition. It is clear from the prospectus that a rank list is to be drawn by the Commissioner of Entrance Examinations on the basis of marks secured by the students in the qualifying examinations.
After an analysis of the provisions of the prospectus, the Division Bench held that the Managements were duty bound to admit only students from the list or supplementary list drawn up by the Commissioner of Entrance Examinations.
"...we have no hesitation to hold that admissions made by the Managements / colleges by their own volition, giving a go by to the meritorious students and outside the list prepared by the Commissioner of Entrance Examinations under any circumstances, are totally illegal, arbitrary and unjustified, which if perpetrated, would lead to disastrous consequences, including the dilution of educational standards in the B. Tech course."
Regarding the argument that the agreement between the government and the managements did not include Laterla Entry Courses, the Bench opined as such:
"it cannot be said that the agreement executed by and between the State Government and the educational agencies would not take in the Lateral Entry Course and if that was the situation, there would have been a specific exclusion of the Lateral Entry Course from the agreement executed by and between the parties."
The Court also noticed that the intention and the objective of the Government by issuing the prospectus was to make a common admission process to maintain the standard of education in the technological education sphere. It was with the intention that the All India Council of Technical Education has in its Admission Handbook and circular issued, prescribed the eligibility criteria.
On the aforementioned grounds, the appeals were dismissed and the common judgment of the Single Judge was upheld.
Case Title: The Principal, KMEA v. Principal Secretary To Government of Kerala
Click Here To Read The Order