The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to hear a plea challenging the decision of IIT Madras to award bonus marks to all students for wrong questions in Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced) but refused to stay the counselling process for admission in 23 IITs.
A vacation bench of Justices Abhay Manohar Sapre and Sanjay Kishan Kaul issued notice to the Centre and IIT Madras, which conducted the examination this year, and directed them to file response within a week on why 18 bonus marks given to all students should not be scrapped.
The court passed the order on petitions filed by two students who sought the court's direction to IIT to revise the merit list of successful students without giving them bonus marks. The petitioners, who cracked the exam, alleged that their ranking in merit list was adversely affected by bonus marks given to all and they would not be able to get admission in colleges of their choice.
Senior advocate Sushma Suri and lawyer D K Devesh, appearing for the aggrieved students, contended that awarding bonus marks to all the candidates, irrespective of whether they attempted the questions or not, was arbitrary and violative of their fundamental rights. They told the bench that the decision to grant bonus mark to all was in violation of an earlier order of the apex court which had held that bonus mark could be given only to those examinees who attempted the question.
Suri told the bench that wrong questions were there only in one out of ten sets of question paper and it was wrong on the part of exam organising committee to award bonus marks to all students. She said ranking of students who rightly solved the questions got affected due to bonus marks and their overall rank had gone down by several notches due to the controversial decision.
"IIT-Madras decision to award 18 bonus marks to all the candidates appearing for the examination (11 marks for incorrect questions in Paper II and 7 marks for incorrect questions in Paper I) irrespective of whether those candidates even attempted to answer the said questions is clearly arbitrary and violative of the rights of the candidates who successfully solved the said questions," the petition said.
Around 1.7 lakh students had registered for the JEE-Advanced examination in 2017 and 1.6 lakh appeared for the test. In all, 50,455 students were declared to have qualified and they are vying for 11,032 seats across 23 IITs.
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