NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked prestigious St Stephens College under Delhi University to admit non-minority students to undergraduate courses solely on the basis of 2022 Common University Entrance Test ( CUET ) marks without subjecting them to interview.A bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and C T Ravikumar rejected St Stephen’s plea for an interim stay on the Delhi HC judgment, which had upheld the DU ’s directive to the minority institution to fill 50% of the undergraduate seats in the general category based only on CUET 2022.This will be the first time in 40 years that the St Stephens will not be permitted to interview general category students prior to giving them admission in undergraduate courses, counsel Romy Chacko told TOI. He said the college would be free to admit minority students to rest 50% seats by giving 85% weightage to their CUET marks and 15% to marks in interview to evaluate their suitability.Solicitor general Tushar Mehta said the interview criteria, with 15% weightage, played a decisive role in selecting students for admission given the fact that several students are bracketed within one decimal point of marks. He said the institution had complete discretion over selection of candidates as it had not disclosed the norms of the interview.Opposing St Stephens plea for stay of HC judgment, Mehta said, “Grant of stay on the operation of the High Court judgment will be detrimental to the merit and will have pan-India impact as St Stephens is not the only minority institution in the country.”Mehta said that apart from St Stephens, there are five minority institutions, including Jesus and Mary College, under DU and they have agreed to admit students based on CUET marks.For St Stephens, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said if the minority institutions are not given the right to choose candidates without compromising merit, then it would be a violation of its right to establish and manage an educational institution as guaranteed under Article 30 of the Constitution.Sibal said the interview is not to test merit but to evaluate a student’s suitability to a particular course. “A meritorious student may be suitable for taking a course for history even though he has applied for economics. In the interview he is given that guidance,” he said.“The College calls five students, who are equally meritorious for one available seat. It is because of this interview based evaluation process that we guide them to a suitable course. Look at the alumni - CJI designate D Y Chandrachud, Justice Sanjay K Kaul, Justice Hima Kohli. This year 17 ex-students have cracked the civil services examination, including the topper,” he said.The bench refused to stay the Delhi HC judgment, but scheduled hearing on St Stephen’s petition for final hearing in March next year. It said this year’s admissions would be subject to the final outcome of the adjudication of minority institution’s right on admission of students.The HC had set aside the second part of the DU’s May 9 communication to St Stephens mandating a single merit list for admission of candidates belonging to the Christian community, regardless of any denominations/sub-sects/sub-categories within the Christian community.