SC refuses to stay HC order asking St. Stephen's to follow DU policy on admission

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.
The top court was hearing a plea of St Stephen's College against a Delhi High Court order which asked it to follow the admission policy of the Delhi University: IANS

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday refused to stay the Delhi High Court order asking St. Stephen's College to follow the admission policy prescribed by the Delhi University under which it cannot hold interviews for non-minority students in undergraduate courses.

A bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and C T Ravikumar said it was not inclined to interfere with the HC judgement, prompting the prestigious college to take down from its website a contentious prospectus which was at the centre of a discord between the college and its governing Delhi University.

"We find no reason to stay the judgement, therefore the application for interim relief is dismissed," the bench said.

The top court was hearing a plea of St Stephen's College against a Delhi High Court order which asked it to follow the admission policy of the Delhi University.

According to the prospectus, which was on the college website since May, 85 per cent weightage was to be given to the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) score and 15 per cent to interview, which was against the Delhi University's criteria that accorded 100 per cent weightage to the CUET and did not provide for an interview.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the college, said the interview process was applicable to all and not just non-minority students.

"Delhi High Court order says interview can only be for minority and rest as per Common University Entrance Test. That is bad in law and unsustainable," he asserted.

The senior lawyer said the college has, for the last 40 years, given 15 per cent weightage to interview for admission against unreserved seats.

Sibal also referred to the New Education Policy (NEP) of the government and said marks should not be the criteria for admission in colleges.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Delhi University, submitted imposing a stay on the high court order will have a detrimental effect on the academic environment.

Mehta contended the CUET has been introduced with a view to having a common standard of assessment and there is no requirement of a separate interview by the college.

The Delhi High Court had on September 12 asked the Christian minority institution to follow the admission policy formulated by the Delhi University according to which 100 per cent weightage has to be given to the CUET-2022 score while granting admission to non-minority students in its undergraduate courses.

The high court had said the college cannot conduct interviews for non-minority category students and admissions should be as per the CUET score alone.

The high court had also said the rights accorded to a minority institution under the Constitution cannot be extended to non-minorities.

It had said the college has the authority to conduct interviews, in addition to the CUET score, for admitting Christian students but it cannot force non-minority candidates to additionally appear for an interview.

The HC bench, while asking the college to withdraw its prospectus giving 15 per cent weightage to interview for admission against unreserved seats, besides taking into consideration the CUET score of a candidate, had, however, ruled the DU "cannot insist upon a single merit list for admission of candidates belonging to the Christian community regardless of denomination, etc".

The high court's order had come on petitions filed by a law student and the college with respect to the legality of the procedure for admission of students against unreserved non-minority seats for UG courses.

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