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Unaided colleges move court again for regularising admissions

By J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI, APRIL 12. The Supreme Court has been moved for a direction to Anna University for regularising the admission of about 13,000 students studying in private un-aided self-financing engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu and for publication of their first semester examination results.

A Bench consisting of Justice S. Rajendra Babu and Justice G.P. Mathur, before whom the application filed by the Association of Unaided Non-Minority Engineering Colleges, Tamil Nadu, came up for admission today, directed that it be listed before a three-judge Bench. Shanthi Bhushan, senior counsel appearing for the association, pleaded for an early hearing.

These 13,000 students were admitted on the basis of AICTE (All-India Council for Technical Education) norms— a mere pass in the higher secondary examination provided the candidates appeared for a common entrance test. Member-colleges of the association conducted common entrance tests and admitted the students and moved the Madras High Court for regularising the admissions.

On appeals filed by the State Government and the university as well as by the association, the apex court on March 16 held that admissions made on the basis of a private entrance test were not valid and that these students were not eligible for admission.

Seeking a clarification, the association pointed out that an 11-judge Bench, in its judgment in the `minorities case' on October 31, 2002, held that students could be admitted to engineering colleges if they wrote the entrance test conducted by the State/university or by the institution itself and said the test should be transparent.

Subsequent to this judgment, the university permitted the member-colleges of the association to conduct the entrance test and 13,000 students were admitted. It was only on August 14, 2003, did a five-judge Constitution Bench clarify that the entrance test could be conducted by either the State agency or the university or an association of the colleges.

On the directions of the apex court, these students were also allowed to write the first semester examination.

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