Malpractice in admission in educational institutions are antithetical to the Constitution, which provides that the process be held in a fair, transparent and non-exploitative manner, the Delhi High Court has said.
The court, while rejecting petitions by several private institutions here assailing Delhi government circulars regulating admissions against management seats, said although "backdoor entry" into professional courses is not unknown, institutions are under an obligation to maintain merit and transparency.
Selection of students should not be based on extraneous factors such as personal connections, wealth or social status, it said.
In the present case, the circulars introduced several measures with the aim to ensure and maintain fairness and transparency in the admission process as they envisaged the creation of an online portal to display branch-wise and college-wise seats available under the management quota.
The measures also included online application by candidates as well as online publication of merit list.
The petitioners claimed that the circulars violated the Constitution's article 19(1)(g) -- the right to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
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The right to admit students in up to 10 per cent seats under the management quota in accordance with the Delhi Professional Colleges or Institutions (Prohibition of Capitation Fee, Regulation of Admission, Fixation of Non-Exploitative Fee and Other Measures to Ensure Equity and Excellence) Act, 2007, is also being violated, they claimed.
Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav opined that the circulars did not cast any restriction on the right of the management to admit 10 per cent students under the management quota and it only supplemented the provisions of the Act and its Rules, which provide that such seats have to be filled in a transparent manner based on merit in the qualifying examination.
The judge said the institutions are not entitled to charge higher fees from students admitted through the management quota, and the same fee structure is applicable to them as well as other students.
"The regulation of admission in a fair, transparent and non-exploitative manner is the heart and soul of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India...Malpractices, maladministration and non-transparent admission processes are antithetical to Article 14 of the Constitution of India," the court said in an order dated May 17.
The right to impart education and education services is recognised as an occupation as this activity is undertaken as a means of livelihood or a mission in life and not as a means to earn profit, it said.
"Malpractices and backdoor entry into admissions in professional courses is not unknown in society...transparent and merit based admission process needs to be encouraged," the court said.
"The selection of students should always be based on their academic aptitude and other qualifications, rather than extraneous factors such as personal connections, wealth or social status or other resources of getting limited information of admission notice," it said.
The court held that the circulars facilitated students and private institutions to "allow fair and transparent participation" and did not infringe their fundamental rights as the criteria and procedure for admission under the management quota remained intact.
It said that the occupation of imparting education was not a business but a profession involving a charitable activity. The right to establish and administer an institution includes the right to admit students and to set up a reasonable fee structure, but this right could be regulated to ensure maintenance of proper academic standards, atmosphere and infrastructure, the court said.
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