The Delhi High Court has refused to permit two successful Delhi University aspirants to mutually interchange their chosen course and seats but asked the authorities to consider their grievance as a "one-off case".
Justice Vibhu Bakhru also rejected their claim that this year's Common Seat Allocation System (CSAS) was unconstitutional and observed the change of seats, as sought by the petitioners, is not permissible in terms of allocation system.
"This Court finds no ground to interfere with the CSAS, and has already held that the petitioners have no right to seek the relief as sought; considering that no prejudice would have been caused to any of the students, this Court considers it apposite to direct the respondents (Delhi University and St Stephen's College) to consider this as a one-off case," said the court in an order.
The court said the petitioners' challenge to CSAS was unsubstantial and there was no plausible reason to hold that it was arbitrary, unreasonable and fell foul of Article 14 (Equality before law) or Article 21 (Protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution of India.
The petitioners, who were high-performing students in the Common University Entrance Test, approached the court after they felt their "first preference" at the time of accepting admission was incorrect and sought to alter it but the authorities refused to permit any change.
The DU said, as per the applicable policy, it was not permissible for a candidate to change the seat after she has secured admission in the course and college of her "first preference". The court observed the fundamental premise on which the petition was based – that is, a candidate was entitled to participate in the further rounds for allocation of seats after securing admission in a course and college of "first preference"– is contrary to the CSAS.
"It is also well settled that the remedy under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is available only where there is a legal right. This court is not persuaded to accept that the petitioners have any right to insist on the change of their seats or to participate in fresh rounds for reallocation of the seats," the court stated.
"Having stated the above, this court is also of the view that if the right of other students is not adversely affected, the respondents (DU and St Stephen’s College) ought to consider the request made by the petitioners," it said. The court clarified that if the requests of the petitioners are entertained, it would not constitute a precedent.