JEE Main 75% Criteria Conscious, Well Considered and Sound Policy Decision: National Testing Agency Tells Bombay High Court

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The NTA in its reply said conducting another session of the JEE Main 2023 is a major logistical exercise that involves substantial costs and manpower, as well as infrastructure arrangements

The National Testing Agency in its affidavit has told the Bombay High Court that 75% criteria in the class 12 board for admission in NITs, IITs, CFITs, and GFITs is a conscious, sound, and well-considered policy.

“Therefore, it is respectfully submitted that the requirement of securing minimum 75% marks in Class 12/ qualifying examination or being in top 20 percentile in Class 12 examination conducted by the respective boards, for admission in NITS, IIITs, and other CFTIS/GFTIS is a conscious, well considered and sound policy decision taken with the approval of JEE Apex Board (JAB),” the NTA stated in its affidavit.

The NTA submitted that the relaxation for the year 2020, 2021 and 2022

“I say that the said criteria came to be relaxed by the Ministry of Human Recourse Development (which was later known as Ministry of Education), Department of Higher Education, for admission to IITS, NITS, IIITs and other CFTIS in the Academic Years: 2020-2021, 2021- 2022 and 2022-2023, in view of the then prevailing circumstances i.e. COVID pandemic. Accordingly, JEE (Main) 2020, 2021 and 2022 qualified candidates were only required to produce a pass certificate in class XII examination irrespective of the marks obtained,” the affidavit states.

According to the affidavit, in 2014, the Joint Admission Board (JAB) approved the recommendation made by the Joint Implementation Committee to include the 75 percent eligibility criteria. Subsequently, the Council of IITs accepted the recommendation in September 2014, and the Ministry of Education department notified the criteria in JEE Main 2017. The NTA stated that the claim that the 75 percent criteria came as a "bolt from the blue" is unfounded, and the petitioner and students cannot demand the continuation of the exception as a matter of right.

The affidavit further explains that the top 20 percentile criteria was introduced to account for the variations in exams conducted by different boards, and is non-discriminatory. The percentile system was adopted to ensure a fair comparison of students from different boards that evaluate differently. The Council of Boards of School Education has already written to all boards in January, requesting the notification of category-wise cut-off marks for the top 20 percentile candidates in the respective Class 12 examinations for 2021, 2022, and 2023 (candidates whose results were declared after October 25, 2021).

The NTA also mentioned that conducting another session of the JEE Main 2023 is a major logistical exercise that involves substantial costs and manpower, as well as infrastructure arrangements. The availability of quality test centers, required infrastructure, and trained examination personnel is a significant concern for the conduct of the examination.

The petitioner challenged the 75% eligibility criteria in class 12. The petition states that the students appearing for the exam are from the pandemic batch and that they were assessed on different scales and parameters which may not reflect their true capabilities. It states that there may be students who were assigned less than 75% but could perform better in the JEE Mains Exams and that if a fair chance was not given to them it may affect their future.

Case title: Anubha Srivastava Sahai vs NTA & Ors