“They were things for which it was impossible to prepare but which one spent a lifetime looking back at, trying to accept, interpret, comprehend. Things that should never have happened, that seemed out of place and wrong, these were what prevailed, what endured, in the end.” – Jhumpa Lahiri said it in The Namesake, yet it holds so true for 18-year old Siddhant Batra. His story is a story that has all the elements – struggle, hard work, success, heartbreak, and the death of a million painfully woven dreams.
Siddhant aced the prestigious JEE exams with a rank of 270. He secured a seat at the Indian Institute of Technology(IIT) Bombay. However, just a wrong click and he lost his dream seat in a fortnight, as per Times of India reports.
Batra cleared the JEE (Advanced) 2020 and had been accepted in the first round on October 18. On October 31, scouting for updates on his roll number, he got here through a hyperlink to ‘withdraw from seat allocation and additional rounds’. He clicked on it beneath what he stated was a “bona fide perception” that he was not required for additional admission rounds.
On November 10 he discovered that his name was missing from the list of students admitted to the four-year BTech electrical engineering course. He petitioned the Bombay High against the IIT letter of withdrawal of his admission. On November 19, a vacation bench directed the institute to consider his petition as a representation within two days. The IIT did. With two days to go for the final date of ‘late registration’, on November 23, it rejected his appeal according to the Economic Times. IIT registrar Premkumar stated that the institute has “no authority to quash the withdrawal letter”.
Premkumar stated the foundations are clear and “strictly adhered to” and all admissions are dealt with by JoSSA (Joint Seat Allocation Authority) alone. The IIT-B stated it had no seat vacant now. It stated Batra might apply again next year for JEE (Advanced) 2021.
Batra has now approached the Supreme Court.
In his petition to the supreme court, Batra has sought a direction to the IIT to consider his case on humanitarian grounds and requested the creation of an additional seat to undo his loss. Batra, who lives with his grandparents following the death of his parents, in the plea said he had worked hard against all odds to crack the IIT JEE exams. The petition, filed through advocate Pralhad Paranjpe, said Batra had lost his father when he was a child and was brought up by his mother who died in 2018.
As per his plea, Batra, while filling out the admission process online, came upon a page with a ‘freeze’ option, which he thought meant confirming the seat and the completion of his admission process. As per his plea, Batra, while filling out the admission process online, came upon a page with a ‘freeze’ option, which he thought meant confirming the seat and the completion of his admission process.
“On October 31, 2020, when Batra was surfing the IIT portal to check for further updates, he came upon a link which carried a declaration that read ‘I would like to withdraw from the seat allocation process of JoSAA (Joint Seat Allocation Authority’,” the petition said.
As per the plea, Batra inadvertently clicked on this link and stated ‘IIT Bombay, Electrical Engineering’ as reasons for withdrawal. It added that Batra never intended to withdraw his admission.
The Supreme Courtroom is scheduled to listen to the matter on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, as the news of this unfortunate incident spread across social media, support started pouring in from nooks and corners of the country. In response to the news report about, fighting a legal battle to regain his ‘bachelor of technology’ seat at IIT Bombay, SRM University, Andhra Pradesh, tweeted an offer to grant him admission with full scholarship.
“SRMUAP will be glad to grant admission to the brilliant student Siddhant Batra, all India rank 270 in JEE with a 100 percent tuition fee waiver for four years, along with free accommodation and food,” it said in a post. Later, speaking to TOI, R Nandakummar, director of communications of SRM, said the university was touched by the story of how an orphaned boy displayed grit and merit to ace the toughest entrance examination JEE (advanced) 2020.
On social media, there was an outpouring of support for the boy’s plight due to his “genuine mistake”. “How sad is this…a deserving student in trouble’’ wrote ‘Akon Buddy’ from Mumbai while Ashish Choudhary said, “let he be provided a seat in some other IIT in the same branch on humanitarian grounds.” There were almost 550 replies imploring a beneficial stance to be adopted in Batra’s case towards him. GK Prasad from Hyderabad said he ‘sincerely appeals to courts” while Ganesh from Berkeley, California, USA said “people make mistakes with links. I think the IITs are totally capable of overlooking such mistakes and granting people their well-deserved admission.’’
As we patiently await the Supreme Court’s hearing, we pray that the boy who worked hard despite losing all his reasons to smile doesn’t lose this one too.