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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday exercised its omnibus powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to direct IIT-Bombay to admit a dalit student from the hinterland in Uttar Pradesh within 48 hours after narrating the boy’s travails in arranging fees and authorities refusing to help him.
“If you do not admit such students, then IIT seats would be reserved only for those from metropolitan cities,” said a bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and A S Bopanna. It directed the institution to admit the student in four-year civil engineering BTech course on or before Wednesday.
The court said many students from the hinterland may face difficulties in paying fees online because of internet connectivity issues but because of this, they cannot be deprived of their seats in such prestigious institutions. Prince Jaibir Singh, studying in Allahabad, had qualified in the IIT-JEE (Advanced). The boy had secured an all-India rank of 25,864 and a rank of 864 among successful Scheduled Caste candidates. He was then allotted civil engineering seat on October 27.
IIT-Bombay’s portal was open till October 31 for completion of online admissions, which included fee payment, uploading of documents, and candidates’ response to queries and other formalities. On October 29, Jaibir logged into the portal and uploaded the required documents. Unfortunately, he could not pay the fee due to shortage of funds. He borrowed the shortfall from his sister on October 30. He then made 10 to 12 attempts to complete fee payment but could not succeed due to a technical error on the portal. On October 31, he made similar attempts from a cyber cafe, where the same set of errors appeared.
He unsuccessfully made calls to the admission authorities and then followed this with emails to them from October 31 till November 1. The dalit student again borrowed money to travel from Allahabad to Kharagpur – where the centralised admission authorities are located. The office at Kharagpur expressed inability to assist him. He then travelled to Mumbai and moved the Bombay HC, seeking a direction to the authorities concerned to admit him at IIT. But, the High Court refused to pass any such direction.

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