IITs should build up students from backward communities, not tear them down: Gauhati HC

Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: January 2, 2019

The HC observed that students from backward communities are required to be given some special care and attention in higher education institutes, especially in IITs, so that they are able to overcome their inherent deficiencies and are able to compete at par with others.


Gauhati High Court
 
Guwahati: The Gauhati High Court reversed a decision made by IIT Guwahati to rusticate a Scheduled Caste boy from Rajasthan because of poor academic performance. It also asked premier institutes like IITs to focus on students from such backgrounds and give them more attention.
 
The HC observed that students from backward communities are required to be given some special care and attention in higher education institutes, especially in IITs, so that they are able to overcome their inherent deficiencies and are able to compete at par with others. Justice Achintya Malla Bujor Barua observed this while considering a plea of an IIT-Gauhati Student who belonged to a Scheduled Caste Community in Rajasthan who got terminated because he failed to show any improvement in his academic performance. The student, Amit Kumar Khoiwal of Bhilwara district, was admitted to BTech degree course at IIT-G after he cleared the Joint Entrance Examination in 2011.
 
But he could not perform well in the Semester-I examination and his Cumulative Performance Index (CPI) of 1.67 was far below the minimum CPI of 4. He did not fare any better in Semester II examination but was till allowed to register for the third semester. He could not score above CPI 4 in the 3rd semester as well but was again was again allowed to register himself for the 4th semester where he again failed to cross the minimum CPI.
 
In 2013, IIT-G authorities issued a letter of termination, informing him that his name would be struck off from the rolls of the institute. He made an appeal, which was disallowed. The authorities allowed him to appear for nine semesters but he continued to perform poorly.
 
Relying on a Supreme Court judgment in Avinash Singh Bagri vs. Registrar. IIT Delhi 2009, Amit approached the high court challenging the decision of Senate of IIT Guwahati terminating him from the institute. In the said case, the apex court had allowed some students to continue their studies. Amit submitted that he is a person belonging SC community and he is similarly situated as the petitioner before the Supreme Court in the said judgment.
 
“If the petitioner had fared badly, under the proposition laid down by the Supreme Court in Avinash Singh Bagri (supra) as well as under the spirit of the Constitution of India to bring the persons from the backward community to be at par with others, there is also a duty entrusted upon the respondent IIT Guwahati for providing at least some additional care and attention to the petitioner,” the court added.
 
Justice Malla Barua, in his order, noted, “In the judgment by the Supreme Court, a proposition was laid that a candidate from a backward class is entitled to special care and attention, more particularly in an institution of higher education like that of IIT, so that they are able to overcome their inherent disadvantage to compete at that level. In the instant case, it is taken note of that the petitioner, who is from an SC community in Rajasthan, belongs to a backward community and may also have an inherent disadvantage of competing in an institute of higher education like that of IIT.”
 
The court was then told that Amit has been granted a further opportunity to continue with his studies in the IIT Guwahati by providing certain conditions therein that he shall undertake all the efforts required to come out successful in the course. Recording the submission, the court allowed the writ petition and directed the IIT Guwahati to give him extra care and attention, so as to enable him to perform better.