IIT-Bombay. (File photo)
MUMBAI: In an interim order the Supreme Court on Wednesday permitted 18-year-old Siddhant Batra who had scored an all India rank of 270 at JEE, to join and pursue classes for a BTech Electrical Engineering course at IIT Bombay.
A fortnight ago, Bombay high court had dismissed his petition to restore his admission, which though granted to him in October, he had lost to an “inadvertent error’’.
Siddhant Batra has an all India rank of 270 for JEE 2020. A fortnight ago, his hopes were dashed before the Bombay high court which had dismissed his petition to restore the admission.
The 18-year-old had filed a special leave petition (SLP) against a November 23 high court order.
The SC bench of justices S K Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy said, “There is something known as common sense too, why would a meritorious student who had already go admission want to cancel it?”
Justice Kaul said, “All three of us have discussed. We are all in ad idem (meeting of minds)”.
The IIT counsel Sonal Jain, said, Batra had frozen his seat which as per rules alone indicated that he need not go for further rounds. He cited rules of business for the admission process and said Batra had then “consciously” chosen to withdraw in an 8-step process and thus rules do not permit restoration now.
Jain said he would file an affidavit.
The bench gave the IIT, three days to explain how Batra had complete the process of withdrawal. Batra’s lawyers will then file a rejoinder and SC posted the matter after the Winter vacation for further hearing, after passing the interim order in favour of the student.
Batra, who lost his single-parent, his mother, two years ago, scored almost 96 per cent in Class XII CBSE exam and strove to pursue his target of getting admission to the prestigious Electrical Engineering BTech course at IIT-Bombay. He had secured his seat in October.
But to an inadvertent error, in clicking on an option for ‘withdrawal from further rounds’ he lost his seat, he said.
The teenager had first petitioned the Bombay high court during the Diwali vacation. He had filed a plea before the court against the IIT’s letter of withdrawal of his admission. On November 19, a vacation bench on hearing his counsel Nikhil Sakhardande, Pralhad Paranjpe and Kunal Kanungo directed the IIT to consider his petition as a representation within two days.
The IIT did, but only to pass an order on November 21 to say it was his conscious choice to withdraw from the rounds, which according to rules led to the cancellation of seat.
The IIT said under the rules it could not reverse the loss, but offered him a second go, directly through JEE Advanced in 2021.
On November 23, the HC dismissed his petition saying since its earlier order was acted on “nothing survives for decision” in the petition.
Through advocate Pratiksha Sharma, he then approached the SC to ensure his dreams of studying at the prestigious IIT-Bombay come true.
On Wednesday, senior counsel Basava Prabhu Patil, Sakhardande, Paranjpe and Kanugo appeared for a virtual hearing before the apex court bench.
The steps invited reasons for withdrawal and an option if the candidate would appear for IIT JEE next year, to which Batra had said ‘no’. It also involved giving bank details and a ‘cancelled cheque’ to get a refund of admission fees after a deduction of Rs 2,000, said the IIT.
The SC Judges asked the IIT counsel what reason had Batra given?
Prabhu Patil for Batra said the student’s understanding was that since he had already got his seat in EE, he need not pursue further rounds and that is why he had also chosen the option to not appear for JEE next year. “It is very unfortunate,” said Patil.