'Let interviews be held considering CUET score,' St Stephen’s seeks High Court nod

New Delhis prestigious St Stephens college has invited applications from Bangladeshi students to join the three-year bachelors programme taught at the premium education institution. The move is part of Indias efforts to cement its ties with Bangladesh as it marks 50 years of independence of the south Asian country.
Image Credit: IANS

New Delhi: The row between the Delhi University and St Stephen’s College took a new turn as the premier institution approached the Delhi High Court pleading to allow them to conduct interviews for admission to the graduate programmes by taking into account the marks of the Common University Entrance Exam (CUET) too.

The St Stephen's College, asserting its minority institution character, has stated it will accord 85 per cent weightage to the CUET score and 15 per cent to physical interviews for all categories of candidates, a stand strongly opposed by DU, which wants interviews to be conducted only for the reserved category students.

On May 9, DU reportedly wrote to St Stephen's College, asking it to conduct admissions to the unreserved seats solely based on CUET scores.

The University had recently warned the college that it would declare "null and void" all admissions made by it in violation of the CUET guidelines.

Order to repeal prospectus challenged

The college in its plaint had appealed to stay the Delhi University’s instruction to repeal its prospectus.

The prospectus for the undergraduate courses 2022-23 stated, "St Stephen's College will adopt the CUET as the eligibility criteria with 85 per cent weightage for CUET and the college's interview for shortlisted candidates with a weightage of 15 per cent."

Even though the bench led by Justice Sanjeev Narula that considered the case had sought the opinion of the university, its counsel replied that the guidelines regarding the admission procedure need not be considered now as the date of the entrance test hasn’t been announced.

DU made it clear that the entrance exam is likely to take place in July and that the guidelines regarding admission becomes relevant only after that.

Even though veteran lawyer Kapil Sibal, who appeared for St Stephen’s College, agreed to this, he stressed that the university’s instruction to repeal the prospectus should be stayed.

College cites SC ruling
In a letter to DU Registrar Vikas Gupta last week college Principal John Varghese pointed out that the university’s stand is against the instruction of the Supreme Court bench issued in 1992.

Referring to the judgement, the principal wrote, "St Stephen's College as a Christian minority institution has its admission procedures approved by the highest court in the land and guaranteed by the Constitution of India. "I feel that you have not taken into consideration this important judgement, which incidentally, was brought up by a similar situation back in the 80's between DU and the College."

The principal stressed that disrespecting the judgement would amount to contempt of court. "This is neither becoming of a central university nor does it set forth a proper precedent. In deference to the judgement of the highest court in the land," he wrote.

Meanwhile, the High Court that sought a reply from the university authorities will consider the case again today.  

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