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Indian Apex Court Empathizes With Student; Orders IIT Bombay at Re-Allot Seat

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00


India, supreme court of india, india supreme court, iit student, top court, student, justice education, education justice, justice in education

In a case where a student missed out on a seat in the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay due to non-payment of a particular fee, the Supreme Court directed the institute to create a seat for the student.

The Bench of Justices AS Bopanna and DY Chandrachud, under Article 142 of the Constitution, directed the Joint Seat Allocation Authority (JOSAA) to let the student study at IIT, Bombay.

The 17 year old student who came from a Dalit family had cleared the IIT qualification examination but failed to get a seat as he could not pay the ‘seat acceptance fees’ before due date owing to technical difficulties.

JOSAA however, had informed the court that there were no vacant seats available. Responding to this claim, the Supreme Court said that the creation of the new seat would be subject to regularized admission if seats were vacant.

The Supreme Court Bench then ordered that the petitioner be given a seat in IIT, Bombay. The court also mentioned that the whole process should not disrupt admissions of other students.

The Bench took special interest in this case as the student had passed the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) 2021 and it was not his fault that he lost the seat. The student had secured an All India Rank of 25,894 and Scheduled Caste Rank of 864 in the JEE 2021 test.

On October 27, the petitioner was allocated a seat at IIT Bombay’s civil engineering section. The petition stated that the student ran short of money to pay the seat acceptance fee on October 29, after he submitted relevant documents on JOSAA’s portal.

The petitioner’s sister sent him money to him the next day (October 30). However, he was not able to pay the seat acceptance fee due to technical failure. The petitioner stated that he had tried about 10 to 12 times to make the payment, but in vain.

The following day (October 31), the student tried to make the payment from a cyber café, again in vain. Hence, he was not able to pay the fee within the deadline.

 The plea mentioned that his transactions declined due to a technical error from the card issuing bank, State Bank of India.

At this juncture, the student tried to contact the respondents by phone calls and emails. However, he did not receive any reply from them. He even visited IIT, Kharagpur to pay through an alternative payment method to have his seat allotted. That attempt too, in vain.

The case was then moved to Bombay High Court where the panel dismissed the case after viewing it from a technical perspective. The High Court also prompted him to present his appeal before the Supreme Court.