SRINAGAR: In a violation of statutory norms, a new notification from Kashmir University has said that 97 percent of post-graduate seats in commerce (MCom) would be reserved, 60 percent of them for students having a BCom Honours degree, and the rest 37 percent for other categories. This leaves just 3 percent seats for commerce graduates who do not have an Honours degree, which is given only at one college in Kashmir – the Islamia College for Science & Commerce. About 200 students are studying for a BCom Honours at that college.
As per the university guidelines, 37 percent seats are kept reserved for backward or special category students in the courses taught at the varsity. The rest of the seats are open and are filled on the basis of merit secured by students in the varsity’s entrance examinations.
However, an order was recently issued from the office of the deputy registrar which said that regardless of the marks in entrance exams, Honours graduates in commerce, which are a minuscule percentage in Kashmir, would be given 60 percent of available seats in the post-graduate course.
As compared to the 200 students pursuing an Honours degree in commerce at Islamia College for Science & Commerce, there are some 8,000 students in general BCom courses at 15 different colleges in Srinagar and other districts. About 2000 of them have recently completed their bachelor’s degree, including the ones with an Honours degree. The university has received 1,049 applications for MCom course and 790 applicants appeared in the entrance exam.
Among the 60 students who completed their BCom Honours this year, just 24 students applied for the post-graduation course.
“Nine applicants (Honours graduates) were able to clear the recently-held entrance examinations. The department made public the selection list of 66 students – the intake capacity of one batch at the department – filling the rest of the seats on the basis of merit,” a university official told Kashmir Reader.
However, within a few days, a new order issued by the Vice-Chancellor directed the commerce department to induct the 15 BCom Honours students who had failed the entrance examination. One among them had just 4.25 merit points.
Sources at the university told Kashmir Reader that the move has been pushed to eliminate open competition so as to admit “incompetent students”.
The move is also in clear violation of statutory norms that permit reservation of only up to 49 percent in academic institutions.
“It’s clear that this (new order) is backed by highly influential persons to serve some vested interests,” the university official told Reader.
Head of the commerce department, Riyaz Ahmad Rainie, said that objections to the reservation order had been conveyed to higher officials.
“We didn’t seek reservation for anyone. We came to know when the notice was handed to us. The fact is that the order came when we had already filled all the seats. Now, after insistence from higher officials, we have to manage the extra students, despite very limited resources available,” he said.
Dean of Academics Affairs, Prof Musadiq A Sahaf said that the order came from the academic council chaired by Governer NN Vohra in Jammu University. He said that Kashmir University is bound to abide by the order.
“It was mandatory for us to implement the order,” he said. When asked about the violation of reservation guidelines and whether the order was justified, Sahaf said, “Seek answers from the academic council about these questions.”
He said that Kashmir University was sent the minutes of the council meeting and was told to “implement the order immediately”.