Students who have already taken seats in Delhi University colleges can re-apply at institutions that have vacant seats without withdrawing the previous admission.

The decision is contrary to the admission rules that students will have to withdraw their admission before applying at another college. The colleges are in a fix since the academic session has started and officials fear that the decision will trigger a wave of withdrawals. It will be additional work mid-session.

Delhi University released five cutoff lists this year. After the final list, the colleges were asked to fill up vacant seats by making a merit list.

“This is certainly going to bring back the long process of admission withdrawals. Off-campus colleges will be the worst hit as students with 90% and above marks would like to study at a North Campus college,” said a principal of a North Campus college, requesting anonymity.

The admission process under the merit list started Monday.

Many students who had taken admission in colleges realised they could not re-apply until the earlier admission rule. Parents and students met the Dean Students Welfare (DSW) and objected to the rule.

The university admission committee called for an emergency meeting and took a decision that students should be allowed to apply without withdrawing admission.

“The admission bulletin published by the university does not mention that we cannot apply to a college, if we have already taken admission,” said VK Malhotra, a father whose daughter has taken admission in Shaheed Bhagat Singh College.

“If it was there, we wouldn’t have taken admission earlier and waited for the merit list. My daughter could have applied to a college in North Campus. This rule was unfair,” Malhotra said.

Some principals said the university should have mentioned the rule clearly in the bulletin and clarified process before the admission process started.

“This change was necessary for the sake of fair play. As per cutoff lists, students with high marks might have taken admission in colleges not of their choice. Now, with no cutoff list we are giving all a fair chance,” said Manoj Sinha, principal, Aryabhatta College.

The admission under this process will take place till the fifth merit list, provided seats remain vacant.

Some students organisations, however, have objected to the change in rule. They submitted a representation to DU vice-chancellor, saying this could encourage corruption.