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Colleges calm confused students as Mumbai university halts admissions

For the first time in several years, no separate list for backward category students was put out in minority institutes.

College admissions 2018 Updated: Jun 23, 2018 17:42 IST
Shreya Bhandary
Shreya Bhandary
Hindustan Times
Mumbai University,college admissions,confused students
An October 2017 Bombay high court order allowed minority institutes to do away with a separate quota for those from the reserved categories.(HT File)

A day after the University of Mumbai stopped admissions to degree courses after protests against minority institutions getting a choice to do away with a separate quota for backward class students , colleges were busy calming anxious students and parents, who sought clarity on the issue.

As per the original admissions schedule released by MU, the first merit list was announced on June 19 and for the first time in several years, no separate list for backward category students was drawn in minority institutes. This was in line with an October 2017 Bombay high court order which allowed minority institutes to do away with a separate quota for those from the reserved categories. Following protests from minority groups, MU halted the admissions. The second merit list was supposed to be released on June 22.

One question that was raised by parents and students was about the fate of those who had confirmed their admissions after the release of the first merit list. “Everyone was aware that admissions have been stalled, but students and parents were still anxious to know more. We tried to explain whoever called us on Friday,” said Parag Ajgaonkar, principal of NM College, Vile Parle. Since 2001, minority colleges - both religious and linguistic - offering BA, BCom and BSc and other professional courses, had to share their seats between the open and reserved category applicants. If a minority college has 100 seats, 15% seats were kept aside for the management quota. The remaining 85% seats were divided –42 seats were kept aside for minority students (in-house first, then outsiders) and 43 seats were further divided between open category and those from the reserved categories.

In a writ petition, St Xavier’s College and Maharashtra Association of Minority Educational Institutions had challenged its validity, fairness and constitutionality last year, following which the HC said reservation of seats for backward class candidates shall not apply for minority education institutions affiliated to MU.

On Thursday, various reserved category support groups who met officials of the social justice department as well as the education department at Mantralaya, were assured that the state will now file a special leave petition against the Bombay HC order in the Supreme Court. “Several students from reserved categories have not made it to the first merit list because of the new rule,” said Ajay Tapkeer, from Prahar Student Organisation.

While colleges have currently put on hold the admissions process, many are worried that the process of another petition in the SC might only delay things, but not really bring about any change.

“An older SC order clearly states that reservation in education institutes cannot exceed 50%, so minority institutes are right in their demand. Also, junior college admissions has never drawn a separate list for the reserved category, so it was about time undergraduate courses followed the same rule,” said a principal on condition of anonymity.

First Published: Jun 23, 2018 12:53 IST