Published: 29th April 2023
JEE 75% eligibility criteria relaxation case: Centre submits response affidavit, petitioner react
The criteria state that only the candidates who have scored more than 75 per cent in their Class XII Board examination or are in the top 20 percentile will be eligible for admission to top engineering
The Centre on Friday, April 28, submitted a response to the Bombay High Court on the case regarding the relaxation of the 75 per cent eligibility criteria in the JEE Main 2023 exam. In the reply, it has elaborated on the circumstances under which the said eligibility criteria was implemented in the first place.
What does the affidavit say?
In the affidavit, it has been explained that the criteria were approved by the Joint Admission Board (JAB) of IITs in the year 2014 and was implemented in the academic year 2017-18. The objective was to promote ‘classroom education’ since there appeared to be a disconnect between secondary education and higher education as coaching education gradually replaced secondary schools.
However, the criteria were removed due to the COVID-19 pandemic as a “one-time measure”, the centre notified. For the academic year 2023-24, the criteria was reinstated and a public notice was released on December 15, 2022.
"The averment that the 75 per cent criteria came as a bolt from the blue and other averments in that regard are incorrect and baseless," the document further read.
The petitioners have asserted that the criteria is discriminatory, especially for the students who are repeating the exam this year. Advocate-activist Anubha Sahai, who challenged the 75 per cent criteria in the Bombay High Court, said that many students who will be appearing for the entrance exam this year are from the COVID-affected batch of students from 2021 and 2022.
“These students took a drop hoping to get into an IIT the next year. If they had known or if the criteria was announced before the counselling process last year, they would not have taken a drop. The Centre has argued that the meeting was delayed due to the COVID-19 and that is why the announcement was delayed. But that is not the students’ fault,” Sahai said.
Sahai added that since the students cannot apply for improvement exams for their Class XII score, they are left with no other choice.
Another issue that the petitioner highlighted is that though the criteria was ‘relaxed’ to include the top 20 percentile students of respective boards as well, there is no clarity from most state boards about the top 20 percentile score.
“If the states do not release this data, which is a very tedious task, they will apply the top 20 percentile for the CBSE board which is around 80 per cent. Then how is this relaxation benefitting the students? This is discriminatory, especially for the students from state board schools,” she argued.
Sahai stressed the fact that the Centre has not answered why the criteria was implemented and how is it beneficial for the students.
“In the response, they have cited that the criteria were brought in to bring uniformity as there are variations in board exams conducted by different boards. But what is the purpose of conducting these entrance exams then? Because there was no uniformity, entrance exams like NEET, CUET, JEE were introduced for admissions. How is this going to help the students, this was asked in the court and they have failed to answer. It will not bring any uniformity, only disparity,” she alleged
The next hearing in the case has been scheduled on Tuesday, May 2.
On the other hand, the National Testing Agency (NTA) announced the result for JEE Main Session II and has also released the cut-off for students aspiring for JEE Advanced.
The petitioners have requested the court to take a decision at the earliest as the students are growing anxious about the verdict.