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'Court Cannot Be Unmindful Of The Impact Of Covid': SC Refuses To Disturb Admission Of B-Tech Students Admitted Without Entrance Test

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
7 July 2021 2:02 PM GMT
Court Cannot Be Unmindful Of The Impact Of Covid: SC Refuses To Disturb Admission Of B-Tech Students Admitted Without Entrance Test
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The Court cannot be unmindful of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court observed while refusing to disturb the admission to the students for the B.Tech (Engineering) degree course for academic session 2020-21 on the basis of the marks obtained in the qualifying examinations. State of Odisha had approached the Apex Court challenging the High Court direction to grant...

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The Court cannot be unmindful of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court observed while refusing to disturb the admission to the students for the B.Tech (Engineering) degree course for academic session 2020-21 on the basis of the marks obtained in the qualifying examinations. 

State of Odisha had approached the Apex Court challenging the High Court direction to grant admission to the candidates who had not written the entrance examination.  The court allowed the institutions to grant admission to the students for the B.Tech (Engineering) degree course for academic session 2020-21 on the basis of the marks obtained in the qualifying examinations.

In appeal, the state contended that Section 3 of the Odisha Professional Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fees) Act 2007, stipulates that admission of students in all private professional educational institutions, government institutions and sponsored institutions to all seats including lateral entry seats shall be made through an entrance test approved by the government followed by centralized counselling in order of merit.

The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, R. Subhash Reddy and S. Ravindra Bhat noted that the direction by the High Court to the State Government which operates as a mandamus to admit students to the B.Tech Degree courses on the basis of the marks obtained in the qualifying examination is expressly contrary to the terms of Section 3(1) of the 2007 Act.

"AICTE, in the course of its letter, had clearly indicated that the B.Tech degree courses cannot be placed at par with the PGDM/MBA courses and, hence, it was left to the State Government to take an appropriate decision. Mr Siddhartha Dave is correct in urging that the actual decision which was taken by the State Government on 7 January 2021 proceeded on an erroneous interpretation of the letter which was addressed by the AICTE, that AICTE had not approved of the course of action. However, that does not obviate the position that the State Government is duty bound to comply with the provisions of Section 3(1) which hold the field in the State of Odisha. In this backdrop, the High Court was not justified in issuing a mandamus to the State Government in the teeth of the provisions of the statute, more particularly Section 3(1).", the bench said.

The court noted that there are 592 students who have taken admission under direct entry and 243 students who have taken admission under lateral entry in the B.Tech degree courses  in pursuance of the direction of the High Court.

"The Court cannot be unmindful of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of students who actually could appear for the entrance examination is a small proportion of the total number of seats available in the State. To displace such a body of students who have already been admitted would not be in the interests of justice. Hence, in exercise of our jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution, we are of the view that for the current year, the admission which has been granted by the institutions to 592 students under direct entry and 243 students under lateral entry to the B.Tech degree courses should not be disturbed. We are passing this direction having regard to the overwhelming hardship which has been faced during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Solicitor General has fairly left an appropriate direction in regard to the above 592 students who have already secured admission under direct entry and 243 students who have secured admission under the lateral entry to the discretion of this Court." , the bench said while disposing the appeal.


Case: State of Odisha vs. Orissa Private Engineering College Association (OPECA)
Coram: Justices DY Chandrachud, R. Subhash Reddy and S. Ravindra Bhat
Counsel: SG Tushar Mehta, Adv Sibo Sankar Mishra for State, Sr. Adv Siddhartha Dave, Adv Gaurav Agrawal for Respondents
Citation: LL 2021 SC 285


Click here to Read/Download Judgment



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