The Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur was secretly — and illegally — keeping aside a discretionary admission quota for children of its teachers and staff for over four decades, admitting dozens of students to seats they failed to secure through the IIT-Joint Entrance Examination.
Documents accessed by HT using the RTI Act show the country’s oldest IIT — started in 1951 — blocked 25 per cent of its seats in popular five-year integrated science courses (up to M.Sc level) for handpicked nominees, even as students from the rest of India had to clear the IIT-JEE for admission.
IIT wards merely needed 60 per cent marks in their Class XII Board examination and should have appeared in the IIT-JEE to be eligible for the quota seats, doled out at the institute director’s discretion.
Between 2003 and 2005, those who got in through this illegal quota didn’t even need to appear for the entrance exam.
The secret quota was suspended in 2005, the year the RTI Act was launched, and was abandoned in 2006 under pressure from the Joint Admission Board of all IITs, which organises entrance examination.
“This was the most shameful chapter in the history of the IITs. I tried convincing colleagues to end the quota, but failed,” said a former IIT Kharagpur director who was in charge for several years when the quota was in place.
The IIT admitted 88 students through the secret quota bet-ween 1998 and 2005, including 50 in 2003 and 2004, documents reveal. The quota was never disclosed in admission brochures — unlike all other reservations for backward communities that the IITs have.
The beneficiaries of the secret quota include the children of Madhusudan Chakraborty, now the Director of IIT Bhubaneswar and VK Tewari, the organising chairman of the IIT-JEE in 2006. Chakraborty, who has also been deputy director of IIT Kharagpur, confirmed the discretionary quota to HT but argued: “Not only my son, the sons and daughters of many others in the faculty were also admitted through this quota.”
The IIT has not disclosed exactly when the quota was started, but minutes of an August 16, 1988 board of governors meeting reveal that the quota existed even before the IIT-JEE was started in the mid-1960s.