Mumbai: The Bombay high Court on Thursday asked the National Testing Agency (NTA) the purpose of eligibility criteria of 75 per cent marks in boards despite there being a qualifying exam for admission to IITs, NITs, IIITs etc.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice Sandeep Marne asked the NTA: “What is the purpose for giving 75 percent for twelfth standard? There is a qualifying examination.”
PIL challenging 75% marks in Class XII
The HC posed the question while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Anubha Sahai challenging eligibility criteria of minimum 75% marks in Class XII.
Rui Rodrigues, advocate for the NTA, informed the court that the candidates have to either score 75 per cent in board exams or be in the top 20 percentile of their respective boards.
The advocate for the petitioner countered that the board has not published data about the top 20 percentile after 2019.
After going through the 2019 cutoff data, the bench noted that the score for the top 20 percentile in some boards was even higher than 75 percent. The bench questioned whether this relaxation is meaningful.
Justice Gangapurwala said: “This relaxation that you are seeking to give, will it be meaningful?...Only for very few boards will there be a benefit. For example, Goa has 375. There the students might be benefitted. For Maharashtra the cutoff is even higher than CBSE.”
Sahai has filed an application seeking another session for JEE Mains 2023 in May.
An intervention application was filed by a student challenging the eligibility criteria contending that she has scored 92 percentile in JEE Mains and is eligible to appear in JEE Advance. However, she will not get admission even if she qualifies as her board exam score is 72 per cent, said her advocate.
The HC has directed the NTA to file an affidavit replying to Sahai’s application and student’s intervention application.
Earlier, the HC had rejected the prayer for postponement of JEE Mains 2023 examination. Session 1 was conducted as scheduled from January 24 - January 31 and Session 2 is ongoing as per schedule.
According to the PIL, many candidates are from batches that were assessed on the basis of performance in the previous years as the board exams were cancelled due to COVID pandemic. It states that there are students with less than 75% marks but could perform well in JEE Mains and if a fair chance is denied to them, it will affect the future of lakhs for bright students.
The minimum eligibility criteria was not applicable for academic years 2021-22 and 2022-23. The NTA notification came at the end of the current academic year. The plea contends that the eligibility criteria should not be changed suddenly as the students have been preparing with the expectation that it will be the same as that of last year.