DU:Reserved seats remain vacant as new UGC rule enacted

DU:Reserved seats remain vacant as new UGC rule enacted

Students are up in arms against the University's decision. "According to this notification, a minimum qualification of 50% in the entrance test is mandatory for all students. This notification, however, is not binding and Delhi University as a central university has the right to its own selection process," reads their statement. Photo- Special Arrangement.

The Delhi University has stirred up controversy by deciding to implement the May 2018 amendment to the controversial 2016 UGC regulations in the middle of ongoing MPhil and PhD admissions.

In May, the Indian Express reported that the UGC had scrapped its idea of 100% weightage for oral interviews for PhD and MPhil admissions in universities by amending the University Grants Commission (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of M.PHIL./PH.D Degrees) Regulations, 2016, which was introduced by suppressing the 2009 rule.

The regulations were amended in 2018 to add a blanket rule of 50% marks for qualification, irrespective of categories, in the entrance examinations.

Delhi University started its admission procedure in May and declared the interview lists in June. On July 23, the university came up with another "urgent notification" which read, “According to the amendments to Ordinance VI, VI-A and VI-B regarding MPhil and PhD (and the Bulletin of Information for MPhil and PhD Admissions) the qualifying marks in the entrance examination for all the candidates (reserved and unreserved) is 50%.” 

Departments of DU, later published an updated list, inviting fewer candidates for interviews. Institutes normally invite three times the number of the vacancies for interviews. After the new regulations implemented, only two candidates qualified in the Mathematics department which has 23 seats. This implies that many seats will remain vacant in DU this year. Some departments of DU have zero candidates eligible under the new regulations.

Students are up in arms against the University's decision. "According to this notification, a minimum qualification of 50% in the entrance test is mandatory for all students. This notification, however, is not binding and Delhi University as a central university has the right to its own selection process," reads their statement. 

"Due to this notification, the cut-off was unjustifiably increased. It must also be kept in mind that this 50% is very hard to achieve with the recently introduced scheme of negative marking which did not exist at the time of the Gazette being released."

While DU has decided to change its requirements midway, Pondicherry University which also started the admissions in May has decided not to follow the new regulations. Admission details available on their website list candidates with lower marks in the reserved seats. "Since we started the admission early, we did not follow the new regulations. It will be implemented in the next academic year," said K. Mahesh, Assistant Registrar, Public Relations, Pondicherry University.

Universities in Karnataka are yet to call for admissions. Mysore University already has a cap on 50% marks for SC/ST students. "As per the section No. 5.5 of PhD Regulations 2017 of University of Mysore, the candidates who secured a minimum of 55 marks out of 100 (50 marks out of 100 in case of SC/ST/Cat-1) are declared to be eligible," reads a university document.

Data published by MHRD in the last few years shows that reserved seats in many Universities are vacant despite relaxations on admission criteria. While the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006, allows institutions to take necessary actions to implement reservation, this new rule seems to be creating more troubles.

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