HC to hear on May 24 JMC’s plea against absolute weightage to CUET score for minorities

The Delhi High Court Tuesday said it will hear on May 24 a plea by Jesus and Mary College challenging a notification by the Delhi University insisting on admissions under minority quota solely on the basis of common university entrance test (CUET) scores, without any interview.

The matter was listed before a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad which was informed that a similar pending petition by St Stephen’s College is also coming up for hearing on May 24.

In the petition, Jesus and Mary College, a college for women, represented by advocate Romy Chacko, said it was a minority educational institution and its right to select students for admission and administer educational institution under the Constitution cannot be interfered with or taken away by the Delhi University.

The petitioner college contended that the decision of Delhi University insisting on 100 per cent weightage for CUET score for admission under minority quota is ultravires Article 30 of the Constitution.

“The Delhi University has now resolved that for admissions during the current academic year (2023), even in regard to 50 per cent Christian Quota of seats admission shall be only on the basis of CUET score and no interview and addition of 15 per cent marks for interview will be permitted,” the plea said.

It said this 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 September 2022 judgment of the high court in St. Stephen’s College’s matter in which it has recognised the college’s right to select students of minority category by conducting interviews.

The plea submitted that the varsity’s order suffers from total non-application of mind.

It said this year the university has taken a decision to deprive the minority institutions of the opportunity of interviewing candidates to be admitted under the minority quota which constrained the petitioner to challenge the notification owing to its Minority status and rights under Article 30 (1) of the Constitution.

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Last year, St Stephen’s College had filed a petition challenging 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 in September 2022 directed 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 said the college has the authority to conduct interviews in addition to CUET for admitting students belonging to the minority Christian community but it cannot force non-minority candidates to additionally face an interview.

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