Don’t be Wooden: SC Orders Creation of Seat in IIT-Bombay for Dalit Student

The Supreme Court on Monday exercised its power under Article 142 of the Constitution to create a seat for a Dalit student at IIT-Bombay, who passed the exam but could not deposit fee on time due to technical glitches.

A bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and A.S. Bopanna told the counsel appearing for Joint Seat Allocation Authority (JOSAA) that they should not be ‘wooden on the issue and understand the realities of social life — the practical difficulties on ground’.

The bench said: “The student did not have money, then sister had to transfer money and then there were technical issues. The boy cleared the exam. If it was his negligence then we would not have asked you… The bench further added that the matter should be dealt with a humanitarian approach and not admitting the student — is just bureaucracy.”

JOSAA submitted before the bench that all seats have been filled and no vacant seats are available.

The top court exercised its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to direct the JOSAA to earmark a seat for the student.

The bench observed that it will be a great travesty of justice, if a Dalit boy misses out on admission due to a technical glitch.

The bench said: “This court has before it a young Dalit student who is on the verge of losing a valued seat which has been allocated in IIT Bombay…Hence, we are of the view that it’s a fit case of Article 142 in the interim stage.”

During the hearing, the top court had told JOSAA counsel to find a way to resolve the matter. Citing the excellent track record of the boy, the bench said the court would not come to aid of a candidate, who is not deserving.

The bench ordered a seat should be allocated to the boy without disturbing the admission of any other student, and the creation of this seat will be subject to admission being regularised if (any other) seat falls vacant.

The student got a seat allocated at IIT-Bombay in the civil engineering branch on October 27. The petitioner had logged into the JOSAA website on October 29 and uploaded the requisite documents, but he fell short of money to pay the seat acceptance fee. His sister transferred the money to him on October 30 and he again tried to make payment several times, but failed. The student’s counsel had informed the bench that he failed to submit the fee due to technical glitches.


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