New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday ordered a halt to further counselling and admissions to IITs in respect of entrance tests under JEE-Advanced across the country.
"No counselling or admission to the seats in ITT JEE-Advanced shall take place until further orders," said the bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A.M.Khanwilkar as it directed the further hearing of the matter on July 10.
The court's order came on petitions by two candidates who have challenged the grant of seven marks to all the candidates for errors in two questions - one in chemistry and other in maths - in the Hindi version of the paper.
While the chemistry question carried three marks, the maths question was of four marks.
The bench also ordered that no high court will entertain any petition in respect of the JEE-IIT -Advanced from now onwards.
It further directed the Registrar Generals of the High Courts to inform them by Saturday of the nature of cases and the number of petitioners involved in respect of JEE-IIT-Advanced pending before them.
The court directed that the copy of its order be communicated to all the registrar generals.
Observing that the uniform application of seven marks strikes at the root of Article 14 (equality before law), the bench indicated that it may opt for the "re-evaluation" of the answer sheets.
The court also indicated the option that those who have not attempted these two questions would be left out but those who have attempted it, right or wrong, will get the marks.
Appearing for the Central government, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told the bench that the "problem will have to be solved and it was impossible to identify who answered in Hindi papers".
He informed the bench that as of now the counselling of 33,000 students has already taken place and they have been admitted. In all there are about 36,000 seats.
Venugopal told the court that of the two petitioners before it, one has already got admission in IIT Bombay.
The court was told the "one petition secured 185 marks out of total of 366 and the second petitioner has already taken admission in IIT Bombay".
Appearing for the petitioners' candidates, senior counsel Vikas Singh said that bonus marks can't be given to someone who has not attempt two questions which suffered from error.
He said that there are thousands of students who have secured same marks in the merit list. About 2.35 lakh students appeared in IIT JEE-Advanced examination.
Last Friday, the Supreme Court had sought the government's response to a petition challenging the grant of seven extra marks to all candidates who had appeared for the entrance examination.
However, the vacation bench had refused to interfere with the counselling,
The IIT JEE-Advanced had 10 set of papers, with the same questions but changed order.