'Best of 5' for ICSE students in M'rashtra

SCs ruling denies advantage to SSC pupils over other boards

In an interim order, the apex court, however, also directed the state government to extend the “Best of 5” principle to students of centrals boards such as the ICSE and the CBSE as well, during the current academic year.

The ruling virtually negated the main purpose behind the “Best of 5” system, which was to give an advantage to SSC students over ICSE and CBSE students for admissions.

While staying a portion of the Bombay High Court order which quashed the rule on the grounds of it being “discriminatory” to ICSE students, the Supreme Court posted the matter for October 2010 for further hearing.

There are over 5,000 odd junior colleges in the state and an estimated 16 lakh SSC students and 10,000 ICSE students are vying for admission in those colleges. The state SSC board came out with the “Best of 5” proposal to give an advantage to SSC students over ICSE students, arguing that the ICSE marking system was too liberal, giving its students higher percentages than SSC students.

As per the new rule, marks obtained in five out of six subjects by SSC students were considered for the purpose of issuing Class X mark sheets. The subject in which a student had fared worst was left out.

The new system saw many students from the SSC board scoring over 90 per cent marks. However, parents of ICSE students challenged the proposal in the high court which quashed it. The state government then moved an appeal in the Supreme Court.

A Bench of Justice V S Sirpurkar and Justice Cyriac Joseph said ICSE students should be allowed to choose the “Best 5” subjects from among the Group I and II subjects only.
The Bench, however, said if ICSE students did not want to opt for the “Best of 5” rule, they could stick to the earlier rule of calculating the aggregate of all seven subjects for the purpose of admission.

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