SC restores IIT dream to student

18-year-old’s admission was accidentally withdrawn when he clicked the wrong button

The Supreme Court on Wednesday put the life-long dream of 18-year-old Siddhant Batra to study engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay back on track after his admission was accidentally withdrawn when he clicked the wrong button on the computer mouse during the online admission process.

A Bench led by Justice S.K. Kaul directed the elite institution, as an interim measure, to allow him to join the course for the current academic year and pursue his studies to the “fulfilment of all other formalities”.

The petition filed by Mr. Batra, represented by senior advocate Basava Prabhu S. Patil and advocate Ankit Acharya, said that he had committed an “apparent mistake” clicking the “freeze” option, thinking that he had already completed his admission process.

According to his plea, while filling out the admission process online, he came upon a page with ‘freeze’ option, which he thought meant confirming the seat and the completion of his admission process. In November 2020, when the final list of students was uploaded on the IIT portal, his name was not included. The IIT, however, said the withdrawal option was a “conscious” two-step process.

Mr. Batra, who hails from Agra, had got the All India Rank of 270 in the IIT-JEE exam. He approached the apex court after the Bombay High Court asked him to apply again next year.

In his petition to the top court, the student has sought a direction to the IIT to consider his case on humanitarian grounds, and requested creation of an additional seat to undo his loss. Mr. Batra, who lives with his grandparents following the death of his parents, said he had worked hard against all odds to crack IIT JEE exams. The petition said he had lost his father when he was a child and was brought up by his mother, who died in 2018.

The court fixed the case after the winter break.

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