New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday vacated its stay on the process of admissions and counselling across all campuses of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), the National Institute of Technology (NIT) and other engineering institutions.

The ruling came three days after the court had put on hold the admission and counselling process based on the results of the IIT Joint Entrance Examination, or JEE (Advanced) 2017.

India has 23 IITs and 30 NITs, the two best engineering school brands in the country. These two together cater to around 25-30,000 students per year. These institutes and others using results of the JEE (Advanced) examination for their admission and counselling process can now go ahead.

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra, however, asked the Centre to evolve a mechanism to prevent errors in exam papers and sought an undertaking from the IITs that such mistakes would not recur.

Attorney general K.K. Venugopal, representing the IITs, assured the court that such a situation would not arise in the future.

IITs cheered the development as it cleared the confusion. “In India IITs are one of the few institution with impeccable integrity. There was human errors in the questions and even out confusion grace mark was given to all candidates. It was never intended to benefit any one and we are relieved, and the confusion is over," said Sarit K. Das, director of IIT Ropar.

Following the Supreme Court directive on Monday, the admission process at IITs and NITs resumes Tuesday with third round of counselling session taking place. IITs and NITs will conduct up to seven rounds of joint counselling to fill up all seats.

Das said, the IITs have already completed admission to majority of the seats. But resumption of the process will allow IITs to fill up few hundreds more and students the option to choose among courses and institutions depending on the offer they receive.

“We have lost two days because of the court case but IITs believe that they will catch up, and the academic session will not be delayed," Das said.

Different IITs are scheduled to start their academic session between 19 July and 18 August.

In clamping the stay on Friday, the court was responding to a challenge by an IIT aspirant, Aishwarya Agarwal, against the award of additional bonus marks to candidates who had appeared in the IIT JEE (Advanced) conducted this year. The students were awarded grace marks because of some errors in a question paper.

The petitioner sought a direction to be passed to rectify the all-India merit/rank list which had considered the bonus marks given to all those who had taken the examination this year.

Seeking an interim stay on the admission and counselling process, Agarwal demanded that additional marks be given to the candidates who had attempted to answer the wrong questions, failure of which, she maintained, amounted to violation of her rights and those of other students .

Additionally, it was contended that a fresh examination be conducted on the basis of which a new merit list may be prepared for admissions.

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