The Supreme Court on Wednesday (August 9) held that the requirement of minimum 75% in the qualifying examination imposed by the PEC (Punjab Engineering College) University of Technology for admission through the sports quota, i.e., 2% of intake of students, was ‘discriminatory’ and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. A division bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Aravind Kumar was of the view that the objective of the sports quota, was to promote and encourage sports, and sportsmanship in educational institutions.
As reported by the live law, the court opined that expecting the same degree of academic excellence as that of general candidates will defeat the purpose of the sports quota. “The imposition of the minimum 75% eligibility condition, therefore, does not subserve the object of introducing the sports quota, but is, rather destructive of it; the criterion, in that sense subverted the object and is discriminatory; it therefore, falls afoul of the equality clause, in Article 14 of the Constitution.” The top court held.
The Apex Court observed that the purpose of implementing a sports quota is not to prioritize academic excellence, but rather to promote sports within the institution, university, and the entire country:
“The objective of introducing sports quota, however, is not to accommodate academic merit, but something altogether different: promotion of sports in the institution, the university, and ultimately, in the country. Among others, universities are the nurseries or the catchment for sportspersons, who can represent in state, national, international level and Olympic sports. At the same time, the state or educational institution can insist upon a minimum eligibility condition. That is not to say that such condition would necessarily and mandatorily have to be what is applicable to general (or open category) candidates. The latter kind of criteria would tend to exclude meritorious sportspersons, and place the less (academically) meritorious sportspersons, at a disadvantageous position, because they satisfy the open category candidates’ criterion of higher academic merit.”
The Court thus found the exclusion of the appellant and other like candidates, on the ground that they secured less than 75% in the qualifying examination, to be ‘unwarranted and discriminatory’.
“..it is held that exclusion of the petitioner and other like candidates, on the ground of their securing less than 75% in the qualifying examination, was unwarranted and discriminatory. The reference to, and incorporation of clauses giving effect to such criterion is held unenforceable and void.” the Top Court held.
However, the Court also took note of the fact that allocation for admission to the seats were almost complete and that only one seat was remaining. The Court directed that the remaining seat be filled by the criteria applicable to the preceding academic year. The Court also stated that the candidates who had already been selected would not be disturbed.