‘Court Cannot Be Unmindful Of The Impact Of Covid’: SC Refuses To Disturb Admission Of B-Tech Students Admitted Without Entrance Test
Case: State of Odisha vs. Orissa Private Engineering College Association
Coram: Justices DY Chandrachud, R. Subhash Reddy, and S. Ravindra Bhat
Case No: Civil Appeal No 2274 of 2021
Court Observation: “AICTE, in the course of its letter, had clearly indicated that the B.Tech degree courses cannot be placed at par with the PGDM/MBA courses and, hence, it was left to the State Government to take an appropriate decision. Mr. Siddhartha Dave is correct in urging that the actual decision which was taken by the State Government on 7 January 2021 proceeded on an erroneous interpretation of the letter which was addressed by the AICTE, that AICTE had not approved of the course of action. However, that does not obviate the position that the State Government is duty-bound to comply with the provisions of Section 3(1) which hold the field in the State of Odisha. In this backdrop, the High Court was not justified in issuing a mandamus to the State Government in the teeth of the provisions of the statute, more particularly Section 3(1).”
“The Court cannot be unmindful of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of students who actually could appear for the entrance examination is a small proportion of the total number of seats available in the State. To displace such a body of students who have already been admitted would not be in the interests of justice. Hence, in the exercise of our jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution, we are of the view that for the current year, the admission which has been granted by the institutions to 592 students under direct entry and 243 students under lateral entry to the B.Tech degree courses should not be disturbed.
We are passing this direction having regard to the overwhelming hardship which has been faced during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Solicitor General has fairly left an appropriate direction in regard to the above 592 students who have already secured admission under direct entry and 243 students who have secured admission under the lateral entry to the discretion of this Court.”