Supreme Court upholds interim order allowing St Stephen’s College to give 15% marks for interviews in minority admissions

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The Supreme Court on Friday refused to interfere with a Delhi High Court order that had allowed St Stephen’s College to give 15 per cent weightage to interviews for admissions under the Christian minority quota. [University of Delhi v. St Stephens College and ors]
A Bench of Justices AS Bopanna and PS Narasimha noted that the order under challenge was an interim one, and that any modification would affect students already admitted.

The Court, however, asked the High Court to dispose of the matter expeditiously.

The top court was hearing an appeal against a Delhi High Court order passed last month. The college had initially challenged the decision of the Executive Council of Delhi University (DU) and a notification dated December 30, 2022, which insisted on 100% weightage on Common University Entrance Test (CUET) scores for minority quota admissions.

The High Court was told that DU’s notification violated a September 2022 High Court order. In that order, the High Court had said that the college cannot give weightage to interviews for admission through non-reserved categories.

In its July order, the High Court underscored that the UGC communication challenged by the college was prima facie in conflict with the right of St Stephen’s College under Article 30(1) of the Constitution of India and the High Court’s September order.

Appearing for Delhi University, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta highlighted that the interview process is subjective. Allowing the same would lead to ‘payment seats’, he added.

“If the High Court comes to the conclusion that the interim order was wrong, what will happen to meritorious students who were not selected due to interview process?” he contended.

The top court, however, declined to overturn the interim order, while also noting that the High Court had made it clear that college admissions would be subject to the outcome of the case.

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