The case of Prince Jaibir Singh’s admission to IIT Bombay

News: Recently the Supreme Court, in pursuance of complete justice, directed IIT Bombay to allot a seat in the BTech program to Prince Jaibir Singh, a Dalit student from Ghaziabad.

What was the issue?

He was denied a seat because of late payment.  The institution did not provide an alternative mechanism for fees payment like cash or cheque or other measures like allowing late payment without a fine.  The supreme court ruled in favour of the student because Dalit students face many obstacles.

What are the obstacles faced by Dalit students?

They struggle in the initial stages to get good coaching. They also face humiliation in hostels, classrooms and playgrounds.

Considering these, more steps should be taken by the government to promote their welfare. One such measure was the recruitment drive for SC/ST/OBC/EWS through Mission Mode Recruitment (MMR).  But this also faces many challenges.

What are the challenges faced by MMR?

First, there is resistance by many IITs against this program. The recruitment process is rushed to adjust to the regular recruitment cycle. Due to this due diligence in the process, implementation is not followed.

Second, there is a lack of clear directions from state agencies, which brings discrepancies and variations in the process of recruitment. For example, illegitimate limits are set to the number of faculties to be recruited.

Third, Exceptionally good candidates are not recommended under the general category, which makes competition under the reserved category very difficult.

Fourth, Many candidates with high-quality publications hesitate to apply due to arbitrary numerical criteria like requiring 49 publications.  Here, quantity dominates quality.

What should be the way forward?

As argued by Max Webber and Dr. BR Ambedkar substantive rationality and substantive equality should guide public policymaking to ensure the welfare of the marginalized.

Source: This post is based on the article ” The case of Prince Jaibir Singh’s admission to IIT Bombay” published in the Indian Express on 26th November 2021.

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