Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Wednesday dismissed the plea challenging eligibility criteria of minimum 75% marks in Class XII for qualifying for JEE exams for admission in IITs, NITs and IIITs.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice Sandeep Marne, while refusing to relax the eligibility criteria, said that the court cannot interfere at this stage. The bench further said that it was for the government to decide on the issue.
While reserving the order on Tuesday, HC had remarked that it understood the predicament of the students that the government should have taken this decision earlier, but at the same time noted that the exams were not restricted to Maharashtra and it had to consider the ramifications.
PIL filed challenging eligibility criteria
Anubha Sahai had filed a PIL challenging the eligibility criteria contending that the criteria was inserted last minute.
The Union government and the National Testing Agency (NTA) have contended that the criteria had existed since 2017, and was relaxed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We understand your predicament that the government should have taken this decision earlier… This is not restricted to one state, this is pan India. This is not just boards for Maharashtra, but to the country. Consider the ramifications it will have,” Justice Gangapurwala had said.
Sahai had argued that this criteria of 75% was not applicable for the last 2 years because of Covid. “Same covid affected students who were eligible last year will not be eligible now. Candidates who have passed the exam this year will qualify for next year,” said Sahai.
The bench had questioned on what grounds should these students be exempted from the eligibility criteria. “That criteria was applicable for 2017-18 batch as well, no one raised any objection then. On what ground should they be exempted?” Justice Gangapurwala had asked pointing out that the notification came out last December.
ASG said the condition was revived after it was in abeyance
Additional Solicitor General, appearing for the Union government, said: “This condition was kept in abeyance, and it has been revived. All students were aware of the facts of conditions in brochures,” Singh said, adding that there cannot be a right to have a relaxation. “There cannot be a legitimate expectation or hope, you have to have a right. Just because there was relaxation once, there cannot be an expectation that it would happen again,” he said.