The Supreme Court on Friday stopped further counselling and admissions to IITs in respect of entrance tests under JEE advanced, across the country.
"No counselling or admission to the seats in IIT JEE-Advanced shall take place until further orders," said a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar as it directed the further hearing of the matter on 10 July.
The court's order came on petitions by two candidates who have challenged the grant of seven marks to all the candidates for errors in two questions - one in chemistry and other in maths - in the Hindi version of the paper. While the chemistry question carried three marks, the maths question was of four marks.
The bench also ordered that no high court will entertain any petition in respect of the JEE-IIT -Advanced from now onwards.
It directed the Registrars General of the High Courts to inform it of the nature of cases and the number of petitioners involved in respect of JEE-IIT-Advanced pending before them.
Observing that the uniform application of seven marks strikes at the root of Article 14 (equality before law), the bench indicated that it may opt for the "re-evaluation" of the answer sheets.
The court also indicated the option that those who have not attempted these two questions would be left out but those who have attempted it, right or wrong, will get the marks.
Appearing for the Central government, Attorney General K K Venugopal told the bench that the "problem will have to be solved and it was impossible to identify who answered in Hindi papers".
He informed the bench that as of now the counselling of 33,000 students has already taken place and they have been admitted. In all there are about 36,000 seats.
The court was told "one petitioner secured 185 marks out of total of 366 and the second petitioner has already taken admission in IIT Bombay".
Appearing for the petitioners' candidates, senior counsel Vikas Singh said that bonus marks can't be given to someone who has not attempted two questions which suffered from error.
He said there are thousands of students who have secured same marks in the merit list. About 2.35 lakh students appeared in IIT JEE-Advanced examination.
Last week, the apex court had sought the government's response to a petition challenging the grant of seven extra marks to all candidates who had appeared for the entrance examination.