The Supreme Court on Monday granted the Indian Institute of Technology, the National Institute of Technology and other engineering colleges permission to go ahead with counselling and admissions on the basis of the Joint Entrance Exam merit list.

With this order, it vacated its ruling from Friday, when it had stayed the admissions following a controversy over JEE (Advanced) candidates being given grace marks. On Monday, the three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra upheld the IITs’ decision to grant 18 extra points to all students for incorrect and vague questions in the JEE paper.

Students were given grace marks as the answer key to seven questions had gone missing. On June 30, the Supreme Court had issued a notice to the Centre, IITs and the JEE chairman while hearing a petition that challenging these bonus points.

The petitioner had alleged that it was unfair that all students were granted bonus marks, irrespective of whether they had attempted these questions. Of the 18 extra marks, 11 were given for incorrect questions in Paper II and 7 for incorrect questions in Paper I.

On Monday, Attorney General KK Venugopal, representing IITs, said it would not be possible to re-evaluate 2.5 lakh answer sheets as the incorrect ones had been printed only in Hindi, and it was not possible to find out students who had appeared for the test in the language. He suggested two options – to continue with the admissions going with the grace marks or leave the incorrect questions out of the tally altogether.

On July 6, the joint admission board of the IITs had said it was not possible to revise the merit list as nearly a thousand candidates had already been allotted seats in various colleges. The institute said that more than 36,000 students in 97 institutes would be affected if the admission process was disturbed.