Bonus marks didn’t compromise IIT-JEE merit list, govt to argue in SC tomorrow

HRD ministry also expected to tell apex court that even if bonus marks are done away with now, merit list won’t change, so lift stay on admission, counselling.

With the Supreme Court staying the admission and counselling process across IITs over the awarding of bonus marks, the Centre is preparing to make a strong case on Monday for the stay to be lifted and will argue that the integrity of the IIT merit list had not been compromised in any way.

The Human Resource Development ministry is set to argue that the integrity of the JEE Advanced 2017 merit list – which determines admissions to all 23 IITs – was not compromised by candidates being given bonus marks due to flaws in question papers, top sources have told ThePrint.

The government will also argue that even if these bonus marks are done away with now – as demanded by the petitioners – it will have no impact on the merit list or change rankings. Hence, there is no valid argument for conducting such an exercise, the sources said.

All candidates were awarded 18 bonus marks this year to compensate for wrong questions in two papers – 11 for incorrect questions in Paper II and seven for incorrect questions in Paper I. These marks were awarded irrespective of whether candidates had attempted the questions or not.

The Supreme Court had on July 7 stayed the admission and counselling processes for IITs following a plea by an aspirant who asked the court to declare the award of bonus marks as wrong and violative of her right as a candidate and aspirant. The plea also seeks the preparation of a fresh merit list after the rectification of JEE Advanced scores or after conducting the examination afresh.

The Attorney General of India, who is representing the HRD ministry, has been holding discussions over the weekend to establish that the award of bonus marks has neither been disadvantageous to any student nor skewed the merit list. The Attorney General, during arguments on 7 July, had ruled out the re-evaluation of answer sheets, pointing out that the exercise would involve going through more than 2.5 lakh answer sheets again.

Over 30,000 students have already taken admission across IITs based on this merit list and another round of counselling was to start on Monday.

The complainants who have taken the HRD ministry and the IITs to court have said that while they had qualified in JEE Advanced, their ranks slid in the overall merit list due to the award of bonus marks.

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