Breaking: Supreme Court dismisses St Stephen's plea challenging Delhi High Court's order on admissions through CUET

SC refused to grant St Stephen's interim relief to conduct admissions for all seats by giving 15% weightage to interviews. Unreserved seats to be filled through CUET scores
File photo of Supreme Court | (Pic: Express)
File photo of Supreme Court | (Pic: Express)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, October 19, dismissed a plea by St Stephen's College, challenging the order of the Delhi High Court, directing it to conduct admissions to unreserved seats through CUET scores only. Additional Solicitor General, appearing for the University Grants Commission (UGC), stated today, October 19, before the court that the CUET achieves the purpose of uniformity in the admission process. The advocate added that the interview process is subjective in nature and grants the college wide discretion to select or reject candidates who might have even topped the CUET. 

On the other hand, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for St Stephen's, argued that "marks are not merit". He added that the interview process assessed the personality of the candidates and pointed out that the National Education Policy (NEP 2020) of the Central Government stated that marks should not be the criteria for admission.

Delhi University, of which St Stephen's is a constituent college, is expected to now release its first merit list for admissions into courses for the academic year 2022-23. The larger matter of the admission process for the college will be taken up around mid-March next year, noted the Two-judge Bench consisting Justices Ajay Rastogi and CT Ravikumar.

When the UGC made the CUET compulsory for admissions into undergraduate courses at central universities in March this year, it said that the admission criteria for reserved minority seats will not be impacted. Delhi University then directed all its affiliated colleges to conduct admissions on the basis of the CUET scores only. However, St Stephen's, a Christian minority college, had, in its prospectus, given 15% weightage to the interview round for admissions, as per its long-standing rules. Delhi University, on May 24, sent a letter to St Stephen's Principal John Varghese, directing the college to remove the prospectus from its website. St Stephen's refused to do so and moved the Delhi High Court, seeking a stay on this order.

The Delhi High Court observed that the college sets aside the interview process for non-Christian candidates, who are admitted into 50% of the seats at St Stephen's and instead conducts their admission with 100% weightage given to the CUET scores only. Admission for Christian minority candidates will be done via St Stephen's method of giving 15% weightage to interviews. 

With the college having challenged this verdict from September 12 in the Supreme Court, Delhi University had delayed the release of the first merit list for admissions as per CUET into undergraduate courses in its affiliated colleges. This list is now expected to be out today, October 19.

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