HC dismisses plea against cut offs by St Stephen's for Christian students in reserved category

HC dismisses plea against cut offs by St Stephen's for Christian students in reserved category

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Wednesday dismissed a plea alleging large scale discrepancies in the cut-off marks notified by St-Stephen's College for Christian students of reserved categories who applied for various undergraduate courses.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said the petition filed by one of the professors of the college was "devoid of merit".

"No case, therefore, exists, in our view, for issuance of any writ, quashing the notification/circulars dated June 26, 2019 read with the corrigendum dated July 2, 2019. Neither is any case made out for issuance of a mandamus, to the College, to call candidates, against any quota or course, for participation in the written test and interview, in excess of the number of candidates already called by it," the bench said in its 21-page order.

It said the college has kept in mind various considerations while deciding on the number of candidates to be called for written test and interview, against the various courses and the various 'reserved quotas' provided therein.

"We are not satisfied that any case, warranting interference by us, can be said to have been made out," the court said.

The petition by professor Nandita Narain has alleged discrepancies in the cut-offs for non-Christian SC/ST and physically handicapped (PH) applicants.

The plea has contended that the college on June 26 notified "artificially high and illegal cut off marks for various courses" for Christian students belonging to ST, others and PH categories.

The college issued a corrigendum on July 2 reducing the cut-offs in some courses but it was not announced publicly, she has contended.

The petition had sought directions to the college to ensure that the discrepancies are rectified and correct number of Christian and non-christian students, belonging to the various reserved categories, are called for the interviews and written exams relating to admission to the undergraduate courses.

It has also urged the court to quash the June 26 notification and issue directions to the college to "rework and renotify" the cut-offs.

The college had earlier told the court that this petition was similar to the one filed by the petitioner and two other professors of the college before a single judge during the vacations. The court has recently dismissed that petition.

An objection was raised by the college's counsel regarding the locus of Narain to file this petition as a public interest litigation. The counsel had alleged that the petitioner, as a faculty member of the college, could conceivably have had some hidden agenda in moving this petition.

To this, the bench said, "We are hesitant to attribute any such motives to the petitioner, as she is a senior faculty member of the College. Perhaps, she has the best interests of the institution in mind."

In the petition before the single judge, the three professors had challenged the inclusion of a member of the institution's Supreme Council in the interview panel for the selection of Christian students for admission to the college.

They had challenged a decision taken by the Supreme Council at its meeting on March 12.

The Supreme Council is higher in authority than the Governing Body of the college, comprising members from the Church of North India and also those nominated by it. 

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