Taking suo motu notice of alleged anomalies in admissions to undergraduate courses, Punjab State Commission for Scheduled Castes has directed Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) registrar to explain in an affidavit non-admittance of scheduled caste students in accordance with the state government policy.
The commission also asked the welfare and higher education departments to explain their conduct of not intervening at appropriate levels on time to ensure SC students could avail of benefits of the government policy notified in December 2004 during the recent GNDU admissions.
Commission chairman Rajesh Bagha, in his July 6 order, said that SC students had suffered academic losses due to GNDU's failure to implement the policy, which stipulated that SC students should be first considered under the general category on the basis of their position in the merit list during admissions in all educational institutions, including technical, medical and professional colleges.
The GNDU had issued the counselling schedule for admissions to B.Sc. in chemistry, human genetics, physics and bachelor's in pharmacy and physiotherapy courses on June 21. But, the commission noted, the university had carried out counselling for SC students on June 28 and that of the general category on June 29.
"The GNDU should have first conducted counselling for general category students so as to allow SC students to compete with general category peers on merit basis and to enable them in getting admission accordingly. In such a situation, these meritorious SC students should not have been considered under the reserved category later," the commission said, adding that the SC seats should have been filled later from amongst the remaining SC students.
The panel instructed the GNDU registrar to submit the reply by July 24. "Since the counselling process had already been completed, the university should also submit course-wise details about highest merit and cut-off merit for general category and SC students," Bagha said.
The commission also took strong exception to the failure of welfare and higher education departments in the whole affair. "These departments should also submit their replies through responsible officers before the commission," he added.
Dr Inderjit Singh, GNDU registrar, when contacted, said that detailed information was being collected from the heads of departments concerned as to why Punjab government's policy on SC students' admissions was not followed. "We have taken the commission's orders very seriously and will ensure that the state policy was adhered to strictly in future admissions," he said.