Update at 12.50 PM on September 15 : Supreme Court Permits Students Who Cleared JEE-Main In 3rd Attempt To Make Representation Before Authorities To Attend JEE-Advanced 2021
The Supreme Court will hear tomorrow(September 15) a writ petition filed by students who have qualified JEE Mains 2021 in their 3rd attempt seeking accommodation to appear for JEE (Advanced) Exam 2021 scheduled to be held on October 3, 2021.
The matter will be heard by the bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar.
Filed through Advocate on Record Sumanth Nookala, the petition also seeks to declare ineligibility prescribed in criterion 4 of clause 11 ("impugned criteria") in the JEE (Advanced), 2020 Information Brochure insofar as it renders candidates who cleared class XII in 2019 ineligible from being able to sit for JEE (Advanced) even after qualifying JEE Mains as arbitrary and violative of Article 14.
It has been argued that only with effect from JEE-2006 a policy decision was taken that candidates will be permitted to appear in JEE only in the year in which he/she passes the qualifying examination and/or in the following year and incorporated as criteria 4.
"The rationale behind such a decision is purportedly hinged on the premise that equals should compete. Though sound, by efflux of time the said policy has become manifestly arbitrary and warrants interference by this Hon'ble Court. The exam pattern in 2006 and 2020 is different. JEE in 2006 was one composite exam with uniform eligibility conditions. From around 2020, JEE Mains conducted by the National Testing Agency was adopted as a screening test which permits 3 attempts from qualifying exam but JEE Advanced maintains at 2 attempts. Secondly, when the age limit prescribed in Criteria 2 is about 25 years and applicants becoming eligible at 23 and 24 years are also permitted, continuing the restriction of two attempts within two years is manifestly arbitrary and unjust," petition states.
Students have also contended that the "attempted" exam by them and other similarly situated persons was a "coerced attempt" and not one given out of free will in hospitable and respectable circumstances as it ought to have been.
They had virtually no choice but to appear for the examination as they were bound by Criteria 3 and 4 of the JEE (Advanced) Brochure which disallows more than 2 attempts, the students have also averred.
Referring to Delhi High Court's decision wherein it had opined that an "attempt" in the context of competitive entrance examinations must be a meaningful attempt "beyond mere attendance" and must be such that the participant can truly realise and perform to their potential, students have averred that their plight of the petitioners and that of all others similarly situated made the JEE(Advanced) 2020 a mere shoddy attempt and not a "real" attempt which could enable the students to actualise their potential.
Relying on the reply to RTI dated July 20, 2021 the petitioners have averred that through 2.5 lakh become eligible for Advance each year, about 12 thousand are excluded because of impugned criteria and only 2.4 lakh are permitted to take JEE Advanced Exam.
The petitioner in their writ has also referred to the Top Court's direction passed in Jajati Panda and Ors v Union of India and Ors which pertained to extra attempt for JEE Advanced Examination 2021.
"In this case, the gross irregularities in the conduct of the JEE Advanced Exam 2020 inter alia was brought to the attention of the court. Several candidates had missed the examination owing to multiple State-Wide lockdowns and the attempt was not meaningful," the petition states.
Case Title: Tejas Babasaheb Veer & Ors V. Union Of India & Ors