Decided on July 28,2020

Raghav Sanjay Gupta Appellant


BIREN VAISHNAV, J. - (1.) Our students are leaders around the globe' reads the home page of the website of the respondent - Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (for short 'IIM, Ahmedabad '). On reading the prospectus for the Two year Post Graduate Programme in Management course, I have gone through the message of the Chairperson which I would like to reproduce hereinbelow before delving into the matter. "Rigour, a quest for excellence, a place to be, T-Nite, are words that come to mind for anyone familiar with the Postgraduate Programme (PGP) at IIMA that leads to a Master's degree in Business Administration. The PGP has been IIMA's flagship programme for more than fifty-five years and is among the top-ranked programmes in the world for many years. This two-year programme has created business leaders, outstanding managers, and a number of significant entrepreneurs. Though the degree is called MBA, historically its graduates have contributed equally to a wide range of areas beyond conventional business, areas that seek knowledge and expertise in management. Their contributions cover practically all sectors of business and industry, not-for-profit organizations, government and policy, research, and academics. The programme moulds its participants into rigorous and new ways of thinking to deal with complex real-life problems. It challenges them to achieve levels of excellence that they may not have thought of earlier. Apart from the formal coursework, the programme has a variety of opportunities for hobbies and sports through student clubs and activities. Incoming participants join a cohort having people with diverse backgrounds - fresh graduates in a variety of disciplines, people with work experience in varied sectors like Finance, Consulting, IT/ITeS, FMCG/Retail, Engineering, PSUs, etc., a gender mix, and a wide range of professional and extra-curricular interests. In the first year of the programme, a set of compulsory courses create a solid foundation for all participants across all functional areas of management. In the second year, participants craft their own specializations by choosing courses from a wide range of electives that can be taken in any combination. Many participants choose to develop their expertise in general management (across functional areas) that IIMA has long been known for. It is equally common for others to specialize in specific areas of management like marketing, finance, strategy, consulting, operations, HR, etc. The second year also offers a one-term exchange programme with more than eighty management schools worldwide, and a dual degree programme with a few selected schools. Exchange offers great opportunities for a diversity of academic, social, and cultural experiences for participants going abroad as well as those staying on campus. Overall, in the programme, you will find a wide range of interesting courses and activities, taught and facilitated by outstanding faculty members, many of whom are as familiar with the world of the practitioner as they are with the world of academics and research. If you are a prospective applicant, I invite you to the challenge of PGP at IIMA. If you are an incoming student, congratulations for your achievement! In terms of sheer numbers, this is probably the toughest programme in the world to get into. If you are currently a student at IIMA, you have already started understanding what PGP at IIMA is about. Either way, be prepared for a life-changing experience! " [Emphasis Supplied]
(2.) Today before this court, is an academically bright student who has excelled in studies all through out, seeking relief from this court as he has not been selected for the two year Post Graduate Management (PGP) Course at IIM, Ahmedabad. His main grievance voiced through this petition is that the respondent's selection process whereby 50% weightage is given to personal interview and only 25% weightage is given to CAT score is arbitrary, discriminatory and illegal. By way of amendment, the petitioner has further sought indulgence of this court in setting aside the respondent's selection process also on the ground of providing 10% weightage to Analytical Writing Test as compared to 25% weightage to CAT score and 15% weightage to the previous academic/professional score and to revise the final merit based selection list of the candidates for the course of post graduate programme of the institute through CAT 2019 on the basis of settled law which determines not more than 15% weightage to oral interview on the basis of questions which are directly connected with the course/programme in question and to make admissions on the basis of such revised final merit based list.
(3.) It shall be fruitful to have a brief recapitulation of the facts of the case that has led to the filing of the present petition. They are as under: 3.1 The petitioner along with other 2,44,000 students appeared for the Common Admission Test (CAT) conducted by the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode in 2019 for the Post Graduate Programme in Management, 2020-2022 batch. The petitioner scored 206.86 marks in CAT 2019 examination, thereby securing 99.95 percentile and securing a rank in the top 110 students all across India. 3.2 The petitioner further states that he was shortlisted for the next round of Analytical Written Test (AWT) and Personal Interview (PI) by the institute. A call letter dated 06.01.2020 was received. The petitioner appeared for the AWT and PI. According to the petitioner, he is a certificate holder of the Certificate issued by the Director, Association of Chartered Certified Accountant, U.K. confirming that he has completed the Strategic Professional ACCA Examination which is an internationally recognised and accepted qualification equivalent to the Indian Chartered Accountant qualification. 3.3 By an email dated 11.05.2020, the petitioner was informed that he was neither selected nor wait-listed. The institute did not disclose the marks that the petitioner secured. A legal notice was therefore issued on 11.05.2020. Details were sought qua the following: (a) Total score/ grade under different heads of the last candidate in the merit list of the general category (b) Total score/grade under different heads of the last candidate in the wait list (c) Total score/grade under different heads of the petitioner. (d) Seats alloted to engineering and non-engineering candidates. (e) Average months' work experience of candidates selected. 3.4 On 19.06.2020, the petitioner was informed that his composite score is 0.630269 whereas the composite score of the last selected candidate was 0.657594 and that the last wait-listed candidate had a composite score of 0.645370. According to the petitioner, the allotment of 50% weightage of marks to Personal Interview (PI) is bad in view of the fact that the allotment of 50% of weightage and allocation of only 25% marks to the CAT score leads to subjectivity and lack of transparency and reasonableness in the admission process, particularly when, the petitioner otherwise has had a brilliant academic career when he scored 10 out of 10 CGPA in Class 10, 92.2% in Class-12, 3.53 out of 4 CGPA (upto Semester-V) in B.Com. It is the case of the petitioner that he has completed all papers of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. ;

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