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Supreme Court Issues Notice On Plea Challenging St Stephens College's Cut-Off For Disability Quota Seats

Mehal Jain
24 Dec 2020 7:51 AM GMT
Supreme Court Issues Notice On Plea Challenging St Stephens Colleges Cut-Off For Disability Quota Seats
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The Supreme Court last week issued notice on a plea challenging the procedure followed by Delhi University's St. Stephens College in setting an "unreasonably high cut-off" for seats reserved for the disabled category and diverting the consequently-unfilled seats to the General Christian category.The bench headed by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde was hearing a SLP against a July, 2019 decision of...

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The Supreme Court last week issued notice on a plea challenging the procedure followed by Delhi University's St. Stephens College in setting an "unreasonably high cut-off" for seats reserved for the disabled category and diverting the consequently-unfilled seats to the General Christian category.

The bench headed by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde was hearing a SLP against a July, 2019 decision of the Delhi High Court dismissing the PIL alleging the above and also refusing to issue a mandamus to the College to call candidates, against any quota or course, for participation in the written test and interview, in excess of the number of candidates already called by it.
On December 15, Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves told the bench led by CJ Bobde, "The Nodal Officer of the University has stated that they have told the College that their cut-off is so absurdly high that disabled students are not getting admission. These are all blind students, students with locomotor disability and more than 87% of them have been left out! The seats for the disabled students are all going vacant!"
The bench, also comprising Justices A. S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, then proceeded to issue notice.
The petition before the High Court was filed by Ms Nandita Narain, an Assistant Professor in the respondent College. She contended that against the quota reserved for various categories of applicant-students, the College, last year, had called, for written test and interview, students far less in number than those who were required to be called. As a result, she alleged, the cut-off, for admission against these categories of students, was artificially raised, and fewer students were able to apply, resulting in seats remaining unfilled.
It was also alleged that, as against this, in the "Christian Others" ("COTH") category, the number of applicants called for written test and interview were far in excess of those who ought to have been called. Impliedly, therefore, it was sought to be alleged that seats, which were essentially meant to be reserved for special categories, such as Christian and Non-Christian persons with disabilities (hereinafter referred to as "PwD"), Scheduled Tribes, etc., were diverted to the General Category Christian (i.e. "Christian Other"/COTH).

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