Student Claiming Ignorance of Eligibility Criteria for MBA Admissions, Inadmissible: Orissa HC
4th June 2021 the Orissa High Court in Subha Chandra Sahoo v. Central University Odisha & others ordered the cancellation of admission of the petitioner-student and observed that the eligibility criteria for pursuing MBA in the Central University of Koraput specified on the website and accessible by candidates invalidates the contention of the petitioner that he was unaware of the eligibility criteria specific to the MBA course in the said University.
The Bench consisting of Chief Justice of Orissa and Justice Savitri Ratho held:
“….. that the CUO Admission Announcement, which was uploaded on its website, and the link for which was provided to the CUCET-2020, clearly spelt out the minimum eligibility condition for the MBA Course as 60% marks in the graduate degree. It was placed in the public domain, and was accessible to every candidate applying for courses in the CUO. It is, therefore, not possible to accept the contention of the Petitioner that he was unaware of the eligibility criteria specific to the MBA course in CUO.
In November 2020, the petitioner was provisionally admitted to the Central University Odisha (CUO), Koraput the MBA course. 25th February 2021, after verification of original documents, CUO canceled his provisional admission. Aggrieved, the petitioner approached the Orissa High Court. 9th March 2021 the court granted him interim relief directing CUO, the respondent-university, to allow the petitioner to continue the MBA course since he had already completed two semesters.
16th March 2021 a counter affidavit was filed by the respondents stating that the petitioner registered for the MBA course at CUO in November 2020 and the first semester was due six months thereafter. The respondent asserted that it was the mistaken belief of the petitioner that he had completed two semesters by March 2021. The petitioner was permitted continuance for the first semester owing to the interim order passed by the High Court.
Pursuant and in response, the petitioner sought directions for the University for the continuance of the remaining course while arguing that the acceptance of the application form for the Central University Common Test (CUCET) knowing he had secured 52.14% in graduation put the onus on the University. Besides he was not aware of the specified eligibility criteria.
The respondent argued that the ‘Registration Slip’ issued to the Petitioner on 15th May 2020 contains a signed declaration of the petitioner inter alia that he had gone through and understood the eligibility criteria. Owing to the pandemic, the verification of the original documents of the candidates could take place only subsequently and once it was found that the petitioner did not satisfy the eligibility requirement, his candidature was canceled.
Studying the arguments raised the Court observed:
In any event in the declaration signed by him, which forms part of the CUCET 2020 Registration Slip dated 15th May 2020 issued to him, the Petitioner states that he has “gone through and understood the eligibility criteria” and further that: “I understand that my admission is subject to the fulfilling of eligibility criteria of the University/Program I am applying for.” Lastly: “I will be solely responsible for my eligibility and I shall be denied admission if I am found not eligible at the time of admission.”
The Court further added:
If despite the above, the petitioner failed to find out what the eligibility criteria for the MBA Course in CUO, Koraput was, then he only has himself to blame.
In conclusion, the Court said, the default is on the part of the petitioner as after signing the declaration, he failed to know about the criteria for the course therefore his admission is canceled and the suit was accordingly disposed of by vacating the interim relief while saying:
The minimum qualifying percentage for eligibility to be admitted to the MBA course is an essential condition that cannot be diluted. With the Petitioner admittedly not fulfilling the said criteria, the question of permitting him to continue pursuing the MBA course in CUO, Koraput does not arise.
Rasmita Behera | Research Intern | EduLegaL
Swapna Iyer | Legal Editor | EduLegaL