Over 1,800 Other Backward Classes (OBC) students who qualified to study at the Indian Institutes of Technology were denied the opportunity in 2009 and 2010 - not because of any irregularity but because of a choice made by other OBC candidates.
Unlike Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University, which have repeatedly failed to fill OBC quota seats, OBC students who cleared the IIT Joint Entrance Examination in 2009 and 2010 outnumbered seats reserved for them.
Admission statistics analyzed by Hindustan Times show that all these OBC students who made the cutoffs set 10% lower than the general category cutoffs could have got seats.
Many of them had cleared general category cutoffs and could have taken those seats, opening up enough quota seats for the rest who cleared reserved category cutoffs but not the general cutoffs.
But 1,851 of these OBC students who cleared the category cut-offs lost out on seats because those who could have taken general seats opted for quota seats instead — where a higher rank got them a more desired stream at the IITs.
“It is exactly opposite to what happened at DU and JNU over the past two years. You can't blame students for not leaving OBC quota seats for general seats — every student wants a better stream,” an IIT Bombay administrator who was associated with admissions last year said, requesting anonymity since he is not authorised to speak to the media.
A total of 2,357 OBC students cleared the category cutoffs in 2010, when 1,712 quota seats were available. Out of the 2,357 qualifiers, 1,501 were making the general category cutoffs too.
In 2009, a total of 1930 OBC students cleared the cutoffs for 726 OBC quota seats. Of these 1,930 qualifiers, 1,400 had cleared the general cutoffs too.
Only in 2011 (the first year when the full 27% quota is being implemented), have fewer OBC students made the cutoff than the quota seats available — 2,545 OBC candidates made the cutoff against 2,740 quota seats.
In contrast, DU even last year — when it was implementing 18% quotas — could fill only 3,158 out of 7,059 quota seats.