Seat hike waits for court nod

Students at admission risk

Orissa High Court. Telegraph picture

Cuttack, July 21: Orissa High Court today directed the Odisha Joint Entrance Examination (OJEE) Committee - 2015 to notify that admissions to the enhanced seats in government engineering colleges in the state for 2015-16 academic session will be subject to final outcome of a petition challenging it.

The court was hearing a petition seeking intervention against seat increase in government institutes without following the All India Council of Technical Education's regulation. The Odisha Private Engineering College Association (Opeca) had filed the petition.

The direction means that the candidates, who will be allotted seats against the enhanced intake in government engineering colleges, will have to take admission at their own risk.

The court, however, refused to issue an interim stay order on admissions to the enhanced seats and fixed July 28 for final order on Opeca's plea.

In an interim order, the division bench of Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice D.P. Choudhury directed the Biju Patnaik University of Technology and the OJEE Committee - 2015 to take steps to ensure that candidates taking part in the counselling were made aware that seat enhancement in government colleges was under legal dispute and admissions to those seats would be subject to final outcome of the case.

The government had increased the number of engineering seats in six state-run institutes. Around 600 seats had been added in the BTech and MTech courses. Admissions to these enhanced seats are to start from this academic year. At present, there are 4,300 BTech and MTech seats in government engineering colleges after the increase in intake capacity by around 600 this year. The total number of seats, including the private engineering colleges, is around 48,500. The counselling process by the OJEE and reporting for admission by candidates at the allotted institutes would be over before July 28.

The government had increased seats at the College of Engineering and Technology in Bhubaneswar, Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology at Sarang, Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology at Burla, Parala Maharaja Engineering College in Berhampur, Government Engineering College in Kalahandi and the Government School of Engineering in Keonjhar.

Opeca has challenged the seat increase on the ground that the government had gone ahead with it when none of the state-run engineering college had the National Board of Accreditation's approval. Besides, the government colleges do not have the required infrastructure and also lack required faculty members, according to the council norms. In such a situation, the seat hike will only degrade the quality of education, Opeca's petition alleged.

The petition accused the state government of adopting discriminatory attitude by not following the council's regulation strictly in case of both government and private engineering colleges.

"The government is expected to give level-playing field. Technical education in the state can only grow with same rules for government and private engineering colleges and government, private and deemed universities," Opeca contends.

In March, it had urged the state government to hold back its decision to increase the seat intake capacity in any course in government institutes without following the council regulations.



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