Delhi HC seeks response from JNU on plea to reconsider allocation of all PhD seats to JRF category candidates

The Delhi High Court on Friday sought a response from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on a plea seeking direction to reconsider the decision to allocate 100% of the Ph.D. seats to JRF category candidates and none for the non-JRF category in its seven centres. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice to the varsity on a petition by JNU Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and asked it to file its counter affidavit.

Advocate Ashok Agarwal, representing the petitioner, said he was only seeking a fair allocation of seats to non-JRF category candidates. He said in the previous years, in most of the centres, the PhD seats were allocated between JRF (Junior Research Fellowship) candidates and non-JRF candidates coming through the entrance examination. In 2021-22 seats have only been allotted through the JRF category, he added.

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The Central government standing counsel Monika Arora, representing JNU, submitted that two-third of the seats are being filled through entrance examination and one-third of the seats are reserved for JRF category candidates and that there is no change in the policy.

The bench asked Arora to put the varsity’s stand on an affidavit and listed the matter for hearing on August 2.

The PIL, filed through advocate Utkarsh Kumar, said that in the previous years the PhD seats in seven centres of JNU were filled up through both from JRF category candidates as well as entrance examination for non-JRF candidates but in the current academic year 2021-22, the university illegally, arbitrarily and unconstitutionally, through its e-Prospectus, decided to fill-up all PhD seats through the JRF category candidates in seven of the centres.

The seven centres are Centre for International Trade and Development; Ph.D in Human Rights Studies (HRSH); Centre for English Studies; Centre for Indian Languages: Ph.D in Hindi, Urdu and Hindi Translation; Centre for Study of Law, Governance; Special Centre for Systems Medicine and Centre for Women Studies.

The plea said the decision has deprived the non-JRF candidates of applying for PhD seats in these seven centres and that the shift in JNU policy to completely close doors for non-JRF category candidates who used to earlier participate in the entrance examination is totally unreasonable and irrational.