Delhi HC allows St. Stephens to implement 85% CUET, 15% interview weightage for Christians
Non-Christians to be admitted based solely on Common Undergraduate Entrance Test scores
The Delhi High Court has allowed St. Stephen's College to implement 85 per cent of admission weightage, based on the Common Undergraduate Entrance Test (CUET) score, and remaining 15 per cent for the interview of Christian minority candidates to undergraduate programmes.
On the other hand, non-minority candidates will be admitted based solely on their CUET score, which will serve as the sole eligibility criterion, a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said.
The court said that this arrangement is temporary and will be in effect until the final decision is reached regarding St. Stephen's College's appeal against Delhi University's decision insisting on 100 per cent weightage for CUET scores for admission to the minority quota in the college.
"Accordingly, as an interim measure, this court directs that the admission policy as framed by this court vide judgment dated September 12, 2022 shall be followed for the Academic Year 2023- 24 and the St. Stephen’s College will adopt the marks secured in the CUET with 85 per cent weightage for CUET and the College's interview for shortlisted candidates with a weightage of 15 per cent for Christian minority candidates,” the court said.
St Stephen's College had contested a Delhi University notification regarding the admission of undergraduate and graduate students under the minority quota purely based on the results of the CUET for academic year 2023.
The plea has been filed in opposition to a recent decision by the DU that stated admission to 50 per cent of the Christian quota seats would only be based on CUET scores, with no interviews and the addition of 15 per cent marks for interviews being allowed in the academic session of 2023.
The plea had challenged the decision of DU’s Executive Council dated December 8, 2022 and notification issued on December 30, 2022, as being ultra vires and unconstitutional.
A declaration was also sought that the decision of DU insisting on 100 per cent weightage for CUET score for admission to minority quota is against Article 30 of the Constitution. The plea makes reference to a High Court ruling from September 12, 2022, which stated that while St. Stephens College is still allowed to conduct interviews in addition to the CUET for the admission of students from minority communities, it is not allowed to create a policy that compels non-minority communities to do the same.
Granting this interim relief, the court stated that giving 85 per cent weightage to CUET scores and 15 per cent weightage to interviews for admission of minority community candidates is in the best interest of the students and aligns with their rights under Article 30(1).
"A conjoint reading of the aforesaid judgment, the minutes of the meeting dated December 8, 2022 and the impugned notification dated December 30, 2022 prima facie shows a complete lack of reasoning as to why the judgment of this Court has been given a go-by by the Respondents and indicates non-application of mind on their part while making the impugned decision."
As the college made a prima facie case of suffering irreparable loss without interim relief and the balance of convenience favoured them, the court accepted the writ petitions for consideration.