Punjab and Haryana HC declines to regularize admissions of 5200 polytechnic students in Punjab

Sofi Ahsan
Punjab and Haryana HC

The judgment dated December 4 was made public Friday.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has declined the prayer of some seven private institutions to regularize the admissions of about 5200 students in Punjab and allow them to pursue their studies.

The diploma engineering students, who had been admitted by the institutions despite no registration with Punjab State Board of Technical Education and Industrial Training on its portal, were continuing their education since 2017 on the basis of interim court orders.

“In view of the law laid down by the Supreme Court, the prayer of the appellants to permit the students to pursue their studies in spite of the illegalities is rejected. Accordingly, we do not find any illegality or perversity in the impugned judgments passed by the learned single judge,” the order by a division bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Rajiv Sharma read.

The judgment dated December 4 was made public Friday.

The controversy revolves around the admissions made in the polytechnic course after the cut off date of August 15, 2017 by the institutions on vacant seats after first two rounds of counselling. The admissions were to be made through an online portal by the institutions on vacant seats by August 15 after a college level counselling. Some 33,000 students were registered till August 15 in the first two rounds through the online off-campus counselling. For the vacant seats, the institutions argued, there was no requirement to register on the Board’s website. The argument regarding a technical snag was also made.

After the matter reached court in 2017, the students were permitted to appear in the examinations “provisionally” in December 2017, May 2018 and later also they were permitted to attend the classes provisionally. In May 2019, they were again permitted to appear in the examinations provisionally.

The appeals filed by the institutions have been dismissed by the court with costs quantified as Rs 1 lakh each upon the colleges from Sangrur, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, Mukerian and other areas. The cost has been ordered to be deposited with the Poor Patients’ Welfare Fund of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.

The court order states that the students were required to register themselves and thereafter, the counseling was to be held leading to admission. “The candidates were required to give choice of their course as well as institute. None of these steps has been taken by the students,” reads the ruling, adding, “Once the procedure has been prescribed, the same has to be followed in that manner alone. All the instructions issued vide notification dated March 1, 2017 and the letter dated July 17, 2017 were mandatory and imperative”.

Observing that the colleges had filled the number of seats itself after August 15 deadline without registration, the court said it cannot be believed that 33,000 students were registered but details of 5,200 students could not be uploaded on the web portal for registration and ancillary purposes. The colleges also had made no efforts to complete the process of allotment of seats after registration of students and upload them on the portal before August 15, the court has ruled.

“There is no order granting provisional admissions to the students and, therefore, they have not been admitted till date. The fact of the matter is that the state refused to grant admissions as they were not in accordance with law. The selection for admissions made by the appellant - institutes was rejected and not approved by the state as it was contrary to the prospectus as well as notification dated March 1, 2017 and the letter dated July 17, 2017. There was no technical snag in uploading the information as well as for registration,” the judgment further read.