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HC lifts tech seat logjam

Calcutta High Court on Tuesday revoked a stay on this year’s e-counselling for engineering admissions, paving the way for the joint entrance examinations board to resume the stalled second round of seat allotments on Wednesday.

The division bench of Justice P.K. Chattopadhyay and Justice Tarun Kumar Das set aside the interim order of July 10 that had restrained the board from continuing seat allotments based on e-counselling between June 11 and 29.

Justice Girish Gupta’s stay order had come in response to a petition filed by the Barasat-based St. Mary’s Technological Foundation, challenging the method of e-counselling. The verdict stalled the second round of seat allotments slated for July 13.

Kumar Deb Banerjee, member secretary of the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examinations Board, said the process of students confirming their acceptance of the seat allotments at their respective reporting centres would start on Thursday.

“Based on the second list of seat allotments to be put up on Wednesday, candidates can visit the reporting centres from the very next day. The schedule for the third and final round of seat allotments and admissions will be announced once we get a copy of the court’s order,” he told Metro.

Another senior board official said August 1 was still the target for the start of first-year BTech classes, as decided before the legal logjam. “Several days have been lost because of the legal tussle. The August 1 deadline fixed by the board had been factored in when the original schedule was drawn up. But we are still hopeful of making up for the loss of days.”

The first round of seat allotments and confirmation of acceptance by the selected students had ended on July 10, the day the trial court stayed the remainder of the admission process. July 14 to 17 was meant to be the four-day window for the second round.

The JEE board appealed against the trial court’s order last week, saying that stopping the process of admissions midway would benefit none. The division bench agreed that delaying the process of admissions would “disrupt” the academic calendar and hamper the future of an entire batch of students aspiring to be engineers.

The division bench said the petitioner was at liberty to move court afresh if it still doubted the correctness of the counselling process.

Metro had highlighted the uncertainty over engineering admissions on Tuesday. Teachers at Jadavpur University and Bengal Engineering and Science University, among other institutions, said it would be impossible to start classes on August 1 with admissions hinging on the outcome of a court case.

Some had accused the board of doing “nothing” apart from posting a message on its website that it had appealed against the stay order.