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Orissa HC balm on admission woes

Cuttack, June 6: The online college admissions will no more give jitters to those, who are not so tech savvy, as a vacation bench of Orissa High Court has ruled that the option of manually filling up application forms would also be open to students.

The bench, consisting of Justice Sanju Panda and Justice B.K. Mishra, issued the interim order on a PIL filed by a Choudwar-based social activist, Biswabasu Dash, who had sought striking down of the compulsory e-admission and directions to provide a manual decentralised option to e-admission process.

The state government had introduced the online system of admission in 2009 for 60 Plus Two colleges, which was subsequently extended to all junior and degree colleges across the state. For the coming academic session, too, the government had decided to conduct e-admission in all 1,315 junior and 661 degree colleges.

Accordingly, the department of higher education had made online application forms for admission to Plus Three available on its website www.dheorissa.in from June 1. However, the vacation bench, in its ruling on Monday, said: “There shall be no bar on manual filing of application.”

Earlier, after a preliminary hearing on May 16, the division bench of Chief Justice V. Gopala Gowda and Justice S.K. Mishra had issued notices to the state government. The case had since been pending for further hearing.

The petitioner filed a fresh petition before the vacation bench on June 4 for intervention as many students, who have no access to Internet, would be irreparably prejudiced. While issuing the interim restriction, the bench fixed June 20 for further hearing on the petition.

The petition said the state government’s claims that e-admission system would make the admission process economical, efficient and hassle free, is not correct. A student had to pay much lesser in the manual mode because the e-admission system had many hidden costs such as travelling to a cyber cafe and cost of the Internet use, it stated.

Moreover, the performance audit of the e-admission in these colleges by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India revealed flaws in the online system. The petitioner alleged that though the flaws were reported in the CAG report-2010, the state government took no corrective steps.