Why top 10, HC asks govt

The Bombay High Court’s warning to the state government on Thursday may keep college admissions on tenterhooks. “If we find that your system (normalisation of marks) is flawed but the purpose is served then we will not disturb any of the followed procedures, but if we find it that it is completely arbitrary then we will take some steps,” chief justice Swatanter Kumar and justice AP Deshpande said.
While hearing a PIL challenging the mark equalisation or percentile system introduced for junior college admissions, the court had asked the state government to explain the rationale behind the system.
As per the government, the percentile system was introduced to do away with the comparative disparity between students from different boards. The formula to arrive at a percentile is based on the average percentage of the 10 toppers of each board. For instance, an ICSE student’s percentage is divided by the average percentage of the top 10 ICSE students and then multiplied by 100 to arrive at a percentile. The court , however, asked that why only the average of the top 10 students was considered. “What is so sacrosanct about 10?” the judges asked, “Why not 100?”
The court asked the government to elaborate on the “magic figure” of 10 and adjourned the case till Friday. Additional government pleader Jyoti Pawar told the court that this system was adopted by many international boards and 87% of the admissions to junior colleges were completed and the government had received no complaints.
Senior counsel for the ICSE Navroz Seervai said the government in its own affidavit has shown the discrimination in the system. The affidavit said in 2007, only 20 out of 100 students were from the SSC board, while this year, the number had risen to 69.
The court also was sceptical of the system as a student with 89.3% and the one with 92.15% would both be ranked at 95. “It is an unfair thing to do,” Kumar remarked. The court also questioned that if both these students had the same rank, who wound be given preference during admission.
The affidavit said there were 15,86,017 SSC students as against 15,604 CBSE students in the state. “It is essential to treat the topper of a larger group on a par with the toppers of limited specific groups.”
Mayura Janwalkar
Friday, July 25, 2008 03:35 IST


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