The High Court has directed the government of India to register and pay scholarship to more than 250 Kashmiri students who had been asked by Mewar University in Rajasthan to vacate the campus because a Central education body had not released students’ scholarship money to the varsity.
However, the relief for the students is one-time exception and will be valid only till they complete their courses, a bench of justice Muhammad Yaqoob Mir said. The bench also directed that the students shall be registered for scholarship that should be released in their favour through respective institutions.
The students had taken admission in various programmes during the academic year 2014-15. However, when the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) did not release scholarship money, the varsity asked the students to deposit hostel and tuition fees or vacate the campus by 28 February 2015.
The High Court was hearing the aggrieved students’ petition that pleaded for quashing a notification issued by the AICTE, which said no scholarship will be provided to students admitted in any educational institution beyond counseling under the Special Scholarship Scheme 2014-15.
The students had also requested the court to annul the decision of human resources development ministry’s panel, which had declined scholarships to the students beyond the stage of counseling.
The scholarship scheme had been formulated on the recommendations of an Expert Group chaired by former RBI governor Dr C Rangarajan. The AICTE then conducted counseling for admissions from 30 August 2014 to 5 September 2014 at the SP College, Srinagar.
The petitioners submitted that they took admission in Mewar University in accordance with applicable scheme following previous year’s practice under the impression that since they had registered on the AICTE website and got their documents verified on the verification counter approved by the AICTE.
But they could not reach the counseling centre because of the heavy rains and the ensuing devastating flood.
The government of India, in its reply, submitted that for the academic year 2014-15, the HRD ministry panel had recommended that only those students who applied through AICTE portal will only be eligible for the scholarship from the academic year 2014-15 onwards.