Supreme Court uses Article 142 of the Indian Constitution to direct IIT Bombay to admit a Dalit student, who was unable to pay the fees on time due to non-functioning of his credit card.
The Supreme Court exercised its ‘omnibus’ powers on Monday to direct IIT Bombay to adopt a humanitarian approach and allocate a seat to a Dalit boy from a remote area of Uttarpradesh within 48 hours, as he could not deposit his fees due to non-functioning of his credit card.
The petitioner was alloyed a seat in civil engineering in IIT Bombay but he could not pay the fees as his credit card did not work despite several attempts.
The bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and A S Bopanna directed the IIT-Bombay authorities to allocate a seat to the student in the four year civil engineering B-Tech course on or before Wednesday.
The bench further added that many students belonging to the remote areas of the country may face difficulties in making fee-payment online because of non availability of internet or internet connectivity issues, but they should not be denied admissions in prestigious institutions, secured by successfully competing in tough multi-tier entrance examinations.
The bench observed that the petitioner, Prince Jaibir Singh had secured 864 All India Rank in the SC category in the IIT entrance exam. If he is not admitted in this academic year, he will be in eligible to appear against for the exam as he has already appeared in two consecutive attempts.
Advocate Sonal Jain, appearing for Joint Seat Allocation Authority (JOSAA) and IIT Bombay said the admission process of the colleges is complete and there are no more seats available in any of the IITs across the country. The court can pass an order under Article 142 for allocating a seat to the petitioner.
However, the bench responded by saying that the IIT should adopt a humanitarian approach and allocate the seat to the child.
“Look at the background of the child. He has to borrow money from his sister after his credit card malfunctioned. Don’t be wooden like this. We can pass an order under Article 142 but that may not be favourable for IITs. You can adopt a humanitarian approach and explore the possibilities. Explain this to the chairman.”
The bench also said that the IITs should have a strong system to handle such situation in the future because students from rural areas work very hard to get admissions in such prestigious colleges.
Jaibir Singh had logged into the online portal to submit the fees on October 29 and uploaded the necessary documents, but he could not pay the fees because he was short of funds. He borrowed some money from his sister and then made 10-12 attempts to complete the payment but the attempts were unsuccessful. He made several calls to the admission department and also mailed the concerned authorities but did not receive any response and staring at the possibility of losing the seat he borrowed money to travel from Allahabad to Kharagpur.
He approached the admission authorities but they expressed their inability to assist him. He then travelled from Kharagpur to Mumbai, to the Bombay High Court seeking directions to the authorities to admit him against the allocated seat in civil engineering course. However, the High Court refused to pass such direction.
The Supreme Court directed the centre and IIT to ensure that the seat allocated to the appellant shall be allocated to him at IIT Bombay before or on 24th November.