DU adds 5 seats in each college to admit the ‘Covid-hit’

New Delhi: The Delhi University (DU) has decided to add 315 seats in undergraduate course across its 63 affiliated colleges — five in each institution, as a one-time measure to allow registered students who couldn’t get admission due to any reason related to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a notification issued by DU Registrar Vikas Gupta on Tuesday, the decision was taken at the request of principals and members of the executive council, which is the highest decision-making body of the varsity. The notification does not cite any specific reason for which a candidate would be considered for the admission for the additional seats.The notification, however, says that the merit of the eligible candidate “must not be beyond 10% of the last cut-off issued by the college”.

The admissions will be done under the newly introduced “college-university seats”. The candidates will be chosen at the discretion of the college and the university in the ratio of 3:2, according to the notification.

The move, however, has attracted criticism by the DU teachers and students who described it as “illegal” and one which would lead to corruption.

“A committee was constituted to explore the possibility to provide few seats to the colleges in view of the Covid-19 pandemic for admission in UG courses (merit-based) over and above the sanctioned strength as supernumerary seats. The competent authority has approved the recommendation of the committee for five admissions under college-university seats in the current academic session 2020-21,” read the notification.

The admission process to the 70,000-odd undergraduate seats is still on under the second special cut-off. The special drive was launched to fill the vacant seats under various reserved categories.

“The merit of the candidates eligible for admission under ‘college-university seats’ shall ordinarily be up to five percent and in no case beyond 10% from the last cut-off issued by the college for the particular course for the respective category of the candidates,” the notification added.

All principals of DU colleges have been asked to submit the list of five candidates for further approval.

Delhi University Principal Association (DUPA) secretary Manoj Sinha welcomed the move. “The discussion over extra seats began after the colleges received requests for admission from candidates who either could not write any entrance exam online or failed to pay fees to confirm admission due to financial difficulties caused by the pandemic.”

However, Nandita Narain, president of Democratic Teachers’ Front and an associate professor at St Stephen’s College said it would lead to illegal admissions. “The Delhi high court, around 25 years back, had ruled against such discretionary admissions by the governing bodies of the colleges and had put an end to the so-called management quota. This move is an attempt to restart such practices in the name of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Rajesh Jha, a member of DU EC, said no such decision was suggested by the council. “The elected EC members will never support a discretionary quota in the admissions, which is against our basic ethos,” he said.

DU acting Vice-Chancellor (VC) PC Joshi said, “It is just a one-time measure after receiving requests from principals. The idea was to help students who could not take admission in the backdrop of the pandemic situation. There won’t be any backdoor entry or corruption. We will personally examine all the cases approved by the principals. Besides, it’s not a mandatory decision and colleges are not bound to follow it.”

Members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) on Wednesday held a protest on the North Campus against the decision. Sidharth Yadav, state secretary, ABVP Delhi, said, “This decision will promote corruption and is highly unfair to meritorious students. DU must take back this decision immediately and not lay the foundation for discrimination among students.”

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