By | 24 Dec 2020 at 9:41 PM

Just a few days before the conclusion of the undergraduate admission process at Delhi University, the varsity has introduced “college-university seats” above the sanctioned strength, a move opposed by teachers and student groups.

Four members of the varsity’s Academic Council (AC) claimed that the supernumerary seats will be like management quota as the power to select candidates has been left with principals and the university.

“On the request of principals of constituent colleges of the University of Delhi and elected executive council members, a committee was constituted to explore the possibility to provide few seats to the colleges in view of Covid-19 pandemic for admission in UG courses merit-based.

“The competent authority of the university has approved the recommendation of the committee for five admissions under College University seat in the current academic session 2020-21,” a circular issued by the University Registrar on Monday said.

It said the Principal of the college will be permitted to allow five admissions (out of which two may be suggested by the university) in UG courses.

Four members of the AC have written a letter to acting Vice Chancellor PC Joshi, alleging that since there is intense competition to secure admission in DU colleges, such a move is “not only totally unethical, it is also illegal”.

“This move is an attempt to restart such opaque practices in the name of the COVID-19 pandemic. The precise connection between COVID-19 and such a discretionary quota is unclear and entirely questionable; in fact, it seems to be just an alibi for satisfying vested interests,” the letter said.

“It is relevant to point out that when DU did not care to advise the colleges for reducing the fees, where in the context of COVID 19 so many people are under financial fragility and precariousness, such discretionary admissions to candidates without any connection to COVID 19 whatsoever is a selective and ironical proposition, to say the least,” it said.

The letter by the Academic Council members further claims that this policy seriously compromises the transparency and probity in the admission process. Candidates with lower cut-offs will be allowed admission by the administrators at different levels, it said, adding that the High Court of Delhi had categorically ruled against such discretionary admissions by the Governing Bodies of the colleges and thus had put an end to the so-called management quota.

The AC members also claimed that the quota has been approved without placing the issue before the council.

Executive Council (EC) member Rajesh Jha said, “We strongly oppose any type of discretionary quota in DU’s admission process, which is in gross violation of the principles of merit, inclusiveness and social justice. The public-funded university cannot extend any special privilege to anyone on the bases, which are not reasonable, rational and egalitarian”.

While the RSS-affiliate Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) has demanded the withdrawal of the circular, the left backed All India Students Association (AISA) has demanded the scrapping of the decision claiming it would sow the seeds of corruption. “The Delhi University’s decision to allocate 5 supernumerary seats under the ‘college university seats’ quota will promote corruption and is highly unfair to meritorious students. Delhi University must take back this decision immediately and not lay the foundation for discrimination among students,” said Sidharth Yadav, State Secretary, ABVP Delhi.

All India Students Association (AISA) said in a statement, “When college administration are given full autonomy, negating the central scheme of admissions provided by the University, we have various examples of instances of corruption all over the country. This scheme of admissions gives shameless privilege to the students with the monetary capacity, leading to a buying and selling of seats”.