Anu Parthiban|Dec 5, 2023
BCI supports plea to conduct CLAT in languages other than English in HC
The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), which is organised by the Consortium of National Law Universities, is conducted in English.
NEW DELHI: The Bar Council of India (BCI) has told the Delhi High Court that conducting CLAT in languages other than English would give opportunities to more citizens to appear in the exam and pursue law as a career. The apex bar body stated its stand in an affidavit filed in response to a PIL seeking conduct of CLAT2024 not only in English but also in regional languages.
The BCI said it "supports" the issue raised by petitioner Sudhanshu Pathak, a law student at the Delhi University. The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), which is organised by the Consortium of National Law Universities, is conducted in English and CLAT-2024 is scheduled to take place in December 2023.
The petitioner, in his PIL, has said CLAT (UG) examination "discriminates" and fails to provide a "level playing field" to students whose educational backgrounds are rooted in regional languages. "Bar Council of India supports the issue raised by the petitioner for conducting the CLAT examination in languages other than English as the same will give opportunities to more citizens of the country to appear in the exam and pursue law as a career," the affidavit by the BCI said.
The BCI, in its response, said according to the Legal Education Rules, English has to be the medium of instruction in both the integrated five-year and three-year law courses, but it is open to the institution to allow instruction in any language other than English. If the medium of instruction of legal education is other than English, students have to take English as a compulsory paper, it added.
The BCI also informed that the All India Bar Examination is held in 23 languages, including English, Hindi and other regional languages. The Consortium of National Law Universities earlier told the high court that preparedness of the upcoming CLAT2024 is at an advanced stage and any judicial order compelling the introduction of additional language options this year without any deliberations and studies, would result in serious administrative and operational issues.
The consortium has said it has constituted an expert committee of vice chancellors of five member NLUs to study the issue of offering the CLAT exam in additional languages, besides English, and to prepare a comprehensive roadmap after reviewing stakeholders' viewpoints and potential constraints.
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