The Delhi High Court has permitted the St Stephen’s College to conduct interviews for granting admission to students under the minority quota besides taking into consideration their common university entrance test scores.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma similarly permitted the Jesus and Mary College to hold interviews for the seats reserved for minority category students.
The court’s order came on applications by the two minority colleges to stay a December 8, 2022, decision of the executive council of the Delhi University (DU) insisting on 100 percent weightage for CUET 2023 score for admission to minority quota.
The applications were filed in petitions by the colleges challenging the notification.
Besides the pleas of the two colleges, the court order was also passed on a petition by a woman, Sharon Ann George, against the interviews for minority students at the St Stephen’s College in addition to the CUET.
The court, in its order, observed that in an earlier decision, it has already discussed the extent to which DU can regulate the admission of minority students and ruled that St Stephen’s has the right to conduct interviews with 15 per cent weightage for minority students, but not for non-minority students.
“Despite this observation made by this Court in the aforesaid judgment, the Executive Committee in its meeting dated 08.12.2022 has decided that for the academic session 2023-24, admission to the Undergraduate Programmes shall solely be on the basis of CUET for minority seats also,” said the bench, also comprising Justice Subramaniam Prasad.
“As an interim measure, this Court directs that the admission policy as framed by this Court vide judgment dated 12.09.2022 shall be followed for the Academic Year 2023-24 and the St Stephen’s College will adopt the marks secured in the CUET with 85% weightage for CUET and the College’s interview for shortlisted candidates with a weightage of 15% for Christian minority candidates,” the court directed in its order dated July 21.
The court said there is prima face a complete lack of reasoning as to why its earlier ruling has been “given a go-by by the Respondents (DU) and indicates non-application of mind on their part while making the impugned decision”.
Admitting the petitions, the court opined that the colleges would suffer an irreparable loss if interim relief is not granted to them at this stage.
Senior advocate A Mariarputham and advocate Romy Chacko appeared for the petitioner colleges. Senior advocate Arun Bhardwaj appeared for petitioner George.
Last year, the St Stephen’s College had filed another petition challenging the DU’s letter asking it to withdraw its prospectus which gave 85 per cent weightage to CUET and 15 per cent to college interview for admission to its unreserved seats in UG courses.
Holding that the rights accorded to a minority institution under the Constitution cannot be extended to non-minorities, the high court had on September 12, 2022 directed the St Stephen’s College to give 100 per cent weightage to the CUET 2022 score while granting admission to non-minority students in its undergraduate courses.
It had, however, said the college has the authority to conduct interviews in addition to the common university entrance test for admitting students belonging to the minority community but it cannot force non-minority candidates to additionally undergo an interview.
Earlier this year, the St Stephen’s College filed the present petition against DU’s notification, contending that being a minority educational institution, its right to select students for admission and administer educational institution under the Constitution cannot be interfered with or taken away.
“The impugned decision of the university denying the petitioner college its right to conduct interviews for admission to undergraduate courses in the minority category is contrary to the judgment of this Hon’ble Court dated September 12, 2022 in W.P. (C) No. 8814/2022 in St Stephen’s College Vs University of Delhi which recognised the petitioner’s right to select students of minority category by conducting interviews,” the petition stated.