Dear IIT, Losing Admission for Clicking the Wrong Link is a Severe Punishment

Social Commentary

Dear IIT, Losing Admission for Clicking the Wrong Link is a Severe Punishment

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

The admission process in India is hectic, with multiple forms to fill and photocopies to arrange. An Agra teen recently lost his IIT-Bombay seat after clicking on the “wrong link”. A petition has now been filed demanding “Justice for Siddhanth Batra”.

Surely, a genuine mistake of that kind doesn’t warrant a punishment so severe.

Eighteen-year-old Batra had secured an All India Rank of 270 in JEE Advanced 2020. He was accepted in the first round of JEE Advanced counselling for electrical engineering at IIT-Bombay. It was completed on October 18 and Batra also received a confirmation letter from the institute.

On October 31, while looking for updates on his admission, Batra came across a link that read “withdraw from seat allocation and further rounds”. He clicked on it assuming he did not need to complete any further process.

To his surprise, the teen found his name missing from the list of students on November 10. When he approached the authorities at IIT-Bombay, he was told it was due to his “own mistake”.

A petition has been formed in his support, which reads, “Now, this is our duty to provide justice to him (Batra) by doing all that we can. He is undoubtedly the best brains in the country and definitely deserves a chance to study in the best institute of the country. JEE is rigorous and it is the dream of almost every child to study in these prominent institutes. Hence, he should definitely get what he deserves.” The petition has more than 4000 signatures so far.

Batra has meanwhile approached the Bombay High Court, which initially directed the IIT to consider his plea as representation and pass appropriate orders. But a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni dismissed Batra’s petition on November 23, noting that the IIT had considered his representation and passed its order.

Batra has now approached the Supreme Court to consider his appeal on humanitarian grounds.

Support has poured in for the teen from all over the country, as fellow students empathise with him. Requests have been made to IIT Bombay to “do the right thing”. Many have criticised the reluctance to pardon his case, stating that processes are made to make things easier for students, not harass them.

Journalist Swati Deshpande pointed out the difficult circumstances that Batra has been through in life. “Raised by a single mom who in 2018 passed. Despite the trauma he cleared the crucial boards with 96% in XII #CBSE to pursue his dream to be an #IITian. He cracked the toughest entrance exam, JEE with an envious rank of 270, but to an error he lost his seat,” she tweeted.

All eyes are on the Supreme Court, and one hopes the honourable judges will do the right thing. Dreams shouldn’t be shattered because someone clicked on a wrong link.