Published: 22nd November 2021
SC snaps at IIT authorities, tells them to 'create a seat' for Dalit boy who lost out on IIT Bombay seat due to glitch
The hearing will continue later in the day, and the SC has asked the authorities to speak to the students and 'find a way out' in the meantime
The Supreme Court is adamant about its stance on 17-year-old Prince Jaibir Singh — that he be allotted an IIT seat this year. Hearing the petition filed by the student from Ghaziabad, the apex court did not take well to being told by the IIT authorities that there are no vacant seats available. "There will be a judicial order against you and then it will be a problem for you. you must understand the reality of our social life," said Justice DY Chandrachud. The two-judge bench which also consists of Justice AS Bopanna has asked the authorities to 'create a seat' for the Dalit student who lost his IIT Bombay seat due to a technical glitch while paying the fee.
Prince, who had earlier had his appeal rejected by the Bombay High Court for not seeking grievance redressal within time, found strong support in the apex court, where the judges said, "A lot of times seats fall vacant. you can adjust him there. Please tell the chairperson that the student cannot be left in the lurch, He is a Dalit boy and he did not have the money. You must understand the realities of what happens on the ground. Find a way out."
During the hearing last week, the court had called the student meritorious, and found the matter significant enough to require it to 'rise above the law.' "He is a Dalit boy who missed out a seat for no fault of his. He has cracked an IIT exam and was about to get admission to IIT Bombay. How many such children are able to do this? The court must sometimes rise above the law," said the bench.
The online Joint Seat Allocation Authority or JoSAA counselling after the JEE-Advanced this year requires students to confirm the merit seat allotted to them by paying the admission fee. On October 29, the student, who secured a Scheduled Caste rank of 864 in the IIT-Advanced exam, attempted to pay the seat acceptance fee on the official website, but his credit card simply wouldn't work. And by the time his sister transferred him the money to complete the transaction, he found, to his horror, that time had run out, and the seat wasn't available anymore.
Prince's appeals to the IIT authorities via calls and emails went unanswered, which caused him to register a petition with the Bombay High Court. There, the ministry of education, who contested the petition said that the non-payment of the acceptance fee in time implies a rejection of the offered seat in the computerised process, and his plea was dismissed.
The matter has been postponed for later in the day, and the judges have in the meantime, asked the authorities to speak with the student.