Explainer: The DU Vs Stephen's Tussle On Admission Policy

New Delhi: The continuing tussle between Delhi College (DU) and St Stephen’s Faculty over conducting interviews for admissions to unreserved seats has reached the Delhi Excessive Court docket. The court docket is looking for responses from each the faculty and DU on a plea looking for route from the faculty to make sure admissions for unreserved seats in undergraduate programs are completed solely primarily based on the marks obtained by the scholars within the Frequent College Entrance Check (CUET).

DU and St Stephen’s Faculty have been at loggerheads over the 2022-23 admission coverage. Whereas DU’s new admission coverage does away with the interview part and mandates solely the CUET rating for admissions to 50% unreserved seats (basic seats), St Stephen’s insists on giving 15% weightage to interviews for all admissions.

Prevailing admission process at St Stephen’s

As per the prevailing coverage, 50% of seats in minority schools are reserved for college students belonging to the group which runs the establishment. St Stephen’s Faculty and Jesus and Mary Faculty are two Christian minority establishments below Delhi College. St Stephen’s is the one school in DU that conducts interviews for admitting college students. In April, the faculty issued a round stating that it’s going to present admissions primarily based on the 85:15 (CUET: Interview) formulation for all seat classes, triggering the continued tussle with the college.

The school has maintained that it reserves the best to confess college students as per its admission coverage provided that it’s a minority establishment. “Stephen’s will undertake CUET as its eligibility standards, with 85% weightage for CUET and the faculty’s interview for shortlisted candidates with the weightage of 15%,” states the faculty’s prospectus that was launched final month. It additionally talked about that interviews for Christian candidates will probably be performed by a board together with a Christian member nominated by the Supreme Council of the faculty.

Additional, admission below the sports activities class may even be granted primarily based on trials, certificates, CUET scores and the interview, the prospectus states. It outlines three elements of the interview: educational, co-curricular, and basic consciousness and sense of values. Whereas the educational part will assess the candidate’s educational potential and suitability for the topic, past what’s indicated by marks, the overall consciousness part will assess the candidate’s outlook, sense of values, stage of consciousness and motivation.

Faculty insists on a “tried and trusted interview course of”

Final month, St Stephen’s Faculty principal John Varghese wrote to DU, refusing to dispose of the interview course of for all candidates, sustaining that it’s going to proceed to “retain its stellar, tried and trusted interview course of” for admissions. Varghese additionally identified that the Structure Bench of the Supreme Court docket in 1992 said that “St Stephen’s, as a Christian minority establishment, has its admission procedures authorised by the best court docket within the land and assured by the Structure of India.”

Nandita Narain, a St Stephen’s Faculty school member, and member of the Faculty Governing Physique stated that the faculty has performed interviews for a very long time. Within the late Eighties, nevertheless, the follow of conducting interviews was challenged by stakeholders. “I’ve been related to the faculty since 1976 and even earlier than that the faculty used to carry interviews. For a very long time, the interview had 100% weightage, to start with. Round 1987, a instructor from the faculty filed a PIL towards the faculty for its interview-based course of since the remainder of the college was admitting college students primarily based on marks,” stated Narain, who’s among the many three academics of the faculty that approached the Delhi Excessive Court docket in 2019 to problem the appointment of a member nominated by the faculty’s Supreme Council to be part of the interview panel for Christian college students.

Narain who’s vociferously towards the CUET stated that whereas the widespread entrance was unacademic and would promote teaching tradition, the interview part was additionally counterproductive.

The DU College students Union additionally to the college authorities in regards to the school stipulating interviews earlier than admission. Related petitions towards the faculty’s interview coverage had been clubbed collectively and the matter reached the Supreme Court docket.

Through the court docket proceedings, the faculty submitted that it had adopted the interview course of since its inception. “The supply for the interview, which has been the process adopted by the Faculty since its inception, is an integral a part of the administration of the Faculty. It is part of its managerial operate and it can’t be taken away by the College,” submitted the faculty. It additionally added that choice primarily based on solely marks obtained by the candidates can be unreasonable and violative of the elemental proper of the Faculty assured below Article 30 of the Structure.

Whereas ruling in favor of the faculty, the apex court docket famous that the faculty had compelling causes to observe the interview course of. “We see neither any arbitrariness nor any vice or lack of scientific foundation within the interview or the choice. The interview confers no broad discretion to the Choice Committee to choose and select any candidate of their selection,” it stated.

The bench famous that the faculty obtained purposes from all around the nation and as famous by earlier court docket judgments, the outcome obtained by a scholar in an examination held by one College couldn’t be in contrast with the outcome obtained by one other candidate in an examination of one other College. “The advantage judging by the proportion of marks secured by candidates in several qualifying examinations with completely different requirements might not result in correct and honest choice… Within the premises, the admission solely decided by the marks obtained by college students, can’t be the most effective obtainable goal information to future educational efficiency,” states the judgment.

DU’s opposition to interviews for unreserved seats

DU is of the view that the introduction of a standardized widespread entrance take a look at, CUET, has modified the circumstances below which the faculty beforehand performed interviews for all college students in all classes.

Final week, whereas referring to the Supreme Court docket judgment from 1992, college registrar Vikas Gupta stated that the judgment of the Supreme Court docket wanted to be “learn within the gentle of the information and circumstances” of that case and said that the judgment was handed within the context of admissions performed by means of qualifying examination marks of “completely different establishments of various requirements”. He added that the judgment didn’t have relevance with the introduction of CUET. , “…..the judgment has no direct relevance within the modified information and circumstances because the admissions are going to be completed primarily based on the advantage obtained by candidates by means of one standardised, equitable, honest, clear, nationalized widespread entrance take a look at (CUET-UG) )…”

Contested understanding of minority rights

Former principal of St Stephen’s Faculty, Valson Thampu, stated that the CUET had rendered the idea of the interview out of date. “If an instrument such because the CUET existed throughout my time, I might have readily accepted it and abolished the interview,” stated Thampu. Whereas explaining the rationale behind conducting interviews previously, he stated that the absence of a standardized mechanism made it tough to evaluate the advantage of scholars coming from completely different state boards with diverse marking insurance policies. “With the introduction of CUET, the necessity to resort to a careless interview course of unfold over an extended interval has turn into imminently avoidable,” stated Thampu.

He stated that the faculty was formulating its stand on the problem primarily based on a “incorrect understanding of minority rights”. Thampu stated that minority rights did not accord the best to a course of so far as admissions had been involved. “The precise to order 50% seats of the faculty for minority candidates is absolutely acknowledged by the college. The school needs to be grateful to the college for its generosity in permitting interviews for Christian college students. However, it has as a substitute gone on a warfare path,” stated Thampu.

He added that the faculty’s insistence on conducting interviews may very well be pushed by the truth that the instrument of interview allowed the faculty to govern and accommodate highly effective pursuits on the time of admissions. “Suppose a scholar has scored 99.9%. To disqualify such a candidate, one merely wants to present the scholar one mark much less out of 15 within the interview. A minority schooling institute has been entrusted with belief by the nation and shouldn’t abuse it,” stated Thampu.

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