NEW DELHI: Aspirations of thousands of students hoping to join the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) were put on hold by the Supreme Court on Friday as it stayed the admission process over award of bonus marks to candidates who appeared for the Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced) this year.
The order also applies to all engineering colleges that use the IIT-JEE (Advanced) for admissions.
The order came on a petition filed by two students who sought the court’s direction to IIT-Madras to revise the list of successful students without giving them bonus marks. The bench has listed the matter for further hearing on July 10.
The IIT-Madras conducted the entrance exam this year for admissions to the IITs, NITs and other colleges.
Bonus marks were awarded as the answer key to seven questions went missing. The IIT had also decided to grant extra marks because of a printing error in a Hindi language paper. All candidates were granted seven marks — three for chemistry and four for mathematics. However, IIT-Madras alone decided to award 18 bonus marks to all students, irrespective of which questions they attempted.
Staying the admission process, a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar said, “If granting bonus marks is a problem, it has to be solved by us at the earliest.”
While senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for petitioners, said IIT’s action of awarding bonus marks violated the right of all candidates, Attorney General K K Venugopal requested the court to suggest an equitable solution as a huge number of students had taken the examination.
The bench suggested that the solution was that only those who attempted such questions would be awarded bonus marks and said, “We will go by earlier judgement of 2005.”
Justifying the IIT’s move to grant bonus marks to all students, Venugopal said, “There was negative marking for every unsuccessful question and there may be some students who opted not to answer the said vague questions fearing negative marking.”
The court also restrained high courts from entertaining any plea on the subject till further orders.