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SC eases cut-off for OBC students
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 18
The Supreme Court today eased the norms for admission of students from the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in central educational institutions under the 27 per cent OBC quota. The move will help a larger number of OBC candidates getting admission and eliminate or minimise the number of unfilled OBC seats getting passed on to the general category.

The liberalisation was done through a clarification on its earlier verdict. The cut-off marks laid down in the April 2008 verdict for the admission of OBC students in central educational institutions under the 27 per cent OBC quota was nothing but the minimum eligibility marks in the qualifying examinations prescribed for admission, the apex court held.

“The order dated October 14, 2008, means that where minimum eligibility marks in the qualifying examinations are prescribed for admission, say as 50 per cent for general category candidates, the minimum eligibility marks for OBCs should not be less than 45 per cent (that is 50 less 10 per cent of 50),” a Bench comprising Justices RV Raveendran and AK Patnaik ruled in a 46-page verdict.

The minimum eligibility marks for OBCs could be fixed at any number between 45 and 50 at the discretion of the institution. In other words where the candidates were required to take an entrance examination and if the qualifying marks in the entrance examination was fixed as 40 per cent for the general category candidates, the qualifying marks for OBC candidates should not be less than 36 per cent (that is 40 less 10 per cent of 40), the apex court held.

The SC further clarified that its 2008 verdict did not mean that the OBC cut-off marks should be decided on the basis of the marks secured by the last candidate admitted in the general category.

The apex court dispelled the confusions over the verdict while disposing of a petition challenging the interpretation of the verdict by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) here.

The SC said its clarification would not be applicable this academic year (2011-12) for the institutions where the admission process was over and the unfilled OBC seats had been transferred to the general category. But where the process of conversion and allotment was not completed, the OBC seats should be filled by OBC candidates.

“Only if OBC candidates possessing the minimum eligibility/qualifying marks are not available in the OBC merit list, the OBC seats shall be converted into general category seats,” the court ruled.

If the last date for admissions had expired, it should be extended till August 31 as a special case to enable admissions to the vacant OBC seats.





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