-Report by Himanshi Chauhan
In the recent case of Ruksana v. Jawahar Lal Nehru University, a writ petition was filed, in the Hon’ble Court for the violation of Articles 14 & 15 of the Indian Constitution, by the petitioner i.e. Ruksana.
The petitioner i.e. Ruksana belongs to the OBC category. She applied for admission to the Ph.D course of “Social Exclusion & Inclusive Policy” at JNU for the academic year 2021-22. There were a total of 8 seats for the said course out of which only 2 are reserved for the OBC category. For admission in the said course, a computer-based test (CBT) was conducted by National Testing Agency. The petitioner took the test and secured Rank-08 in the OBC category. Therefore she was not selected for the course.
But at the same time, Mr Shahid C. who secured Rank-07 in the OBC category was selected for the Ph.D course. He blocked his seat but had failed to submit his documents and certificates before 19.01.2022 which was the last date of admission according to the petitioner. Mr Shahid C. also via an email to the respondent university on 15.02.2022 requested the cancellation of the seat blocked by him.
Therefore, the petitioner is of the view that the vacant seat should have been offered to the petitioner as she was the next candidate on the merit list. Petitioner relied on clause 6.3 of the Admission Policy & Procedure 2021-22 notified by the JNU which provides that seats that remained vacant could be offered to the candidates next in the merit list.
➢ The learned counsel for the petitioner submits that through the texts received by Mr Shahid C., it is evident that the last date for submitting documents and certificates was 19.01.2022 and in the event of the failure to submit requisite documents by 19.01.2022 the admission will be deemed as cancelled.
➢ He further contended that Mr Shahid C. had failed to submit the required documents by 19.01.2022, therefore, his admission will be deemed as cancelled. He also submits that Mr Shahid C. had also conveyed his intention to the respondent university to cancel his admission through an email.
➢ The learned counsel, therefore, urged that seat should have been offered to the petitioner due to the vacancy created.
➢ The learned counsel further submits that the last date for admission according to the timetable was 20.02.2021 but the fifth and final list was issued by the university on 28.01.2022 i.e. much later than the deadline. It clearly shows that the university itself did not adhere to the last date of admission.
➢ He further contended that the date of admission written on the Semester Registration Card of Mr Saddam Hussain is 04.03.2022 which is much later than the deadline for admission. The learned counsel, therefore, submits that the respondent had the discretion in deciding whether candidates were to be admitted or not after the last date.
➢ The learned counsel for the respondent submits that Mr Shahid C. was pursuing M. Phil from Pondicherry University but at the same time, he had blocked a seat for Ph.D. in JNU. But a student cannot be registered in two regular courses at the same time.
➢ The council draws the attention of the court to the circulars dated 24.12.2022 which provided that the students pursuing M. Phil from other universities had to submit the dissertation in their respective universities on or before 31.01.2022 and simultaneously had to submit a certificate with the JNU for confirming their admission in Ph.D. program.
➢ The counsel further submits that Mr Shahid C. kept the seat blocked till the final merit list i.e. on 28.01.2022 and accordingly, no vacant seat was available which could be offered to the petitioner.➢ The learned counsel further submits that the cancellation of admission by Mr Shahid C. on 15.02.2022 was of no use to the petitioner as the admission process was already closed by then.
➢ As far as the date on the registration card of Mr Saddam Hussain was concerned, it was submitted that he had already blocked his seat in Ph.D. program in the first merit list itself. Further, due to Covid, the semester started late and the date mentioned in the registration card is the date on which the same was generated at the school/centre level.
➢ Therefore it was urged by the respondent university that they had acted in the four corners of the admission policy and the petitioner had no right to seek admission when there was no vacant seat available till the last merit list.
The Hon’ble court while deciding the case, referred to clause 6.3 of the Admission Policy & Procedure 2021-22 which makes it clear that only such seats which are vacant before the deadline for admission, shall be offered to the eligible candidates next in the merit list. But in the present case, Mr Shahid C. had blocked his seat till 15.02.2022 which was much later than the deadline for admission i.e. 28.01.2022. Therefore the seat in the Ph.D. program was not vacant till the admission process continued and the same could not be offered to the petitioner contrary to the mandate of clause 6.3 of the Admission Policy & Procedure, 2021-22.
The court thus held that as there was no vacant available, the petitioner cannot claim the right to admission against the said seat and no mandamus can be issued directing the respondent institute to grant admission to the petitioner contrary to the approved timeline.
READ FULL JUDGEMENT: https://bit.ly/41Bn4c5