CLAT 2018: SC orders petition copy to be served on NUALS

CLAT 2018: SC orders petition copy to be served on NUALS
Apratim Chatterjee | May 23, 2018 - 7:26 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI, MAY 23: The Supreme Court, today, has directed that a copy of a petition challenging Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2018 should be served on the National University of Advanced Legal Studies Kochi (NUALS), the Government of India and CLAT 2018 Core Committee.

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The petition filed by six CLAT 2018 takers was heard by the SC Bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Navin Sinha. The petitioners were represented by Senior Advocate Salman Khurshid.

Further, the apex court has also sought details of the orders passed in this regard by six different High Courts. The SC will be hearing the case on May 24, 2018.

CLAT 2018 was conducted by the NUALS on May 13 where, a private company, M/S Sify Technologies Ltd was the testing partner for the Common Law Admission Test.

The petitioners’ plea

The petitioners have pleaded the Supreme Court for directing CLAT 2018 Committee for conducting afresh exam while quashing the May 13th admission test. The petitioners have submitted that the held examination “has jeopardized the future of thousands of students who appeared for this examination”.

The petitioners have elucidated their sufferings in details. They have also alleged that the prerequisites of proper electronic and online infrastructure were not made available in their respective exam centres of CLAT 2018.

The petition also refers to a statement made by Rose Varghese, the Vice Chancellor of NUALS Kochi, that only 1.5 per cent of the candidates appearing for the exam had faced difficulties. However, the case made by the petitioners is that 1.5 per cent roughly comes to 850 candidates and this figure makes for a solid ground to quash the exam.

The alleged problems

The list of alleged problems includes power cuts, failure of log-in system, slow biometric verification, blank screens, substantial loss of time in system log-ins, frequent resetting of computer systems, hanging of computer machines, server shutdown and difficulties in moving from one question to another.

These difficulties had led to significant loss of time, from 5 minutes to 30 minutes. This has been termed as ‘mismanagement’ and ‘misconduct’ of CLAT 2018.

The alleged technical glitches resultant

“In such a case of highly competitive and most sought-after law entrance exam for admissions to five-year integrated law programmes, the loss of time means ‘fait accompli’ for the aspirations of any student,” states the petition.

Further, under certain conditions, when a candidate attempts any question wrong or leaves a question un-attempted, due to the loss of time and under peer pressure caused by the technical glitch, this may lead to a huge gap between the rank and marks of two candidates. The rank can slip by a thousand or more ranks by a simple marks difference.

Violation of Fundamental Rights

The petition also states that the misconduct of CLAT 2018 reflects a gross violation of Fundamental Rights of students under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

In addition to the technical problems, the petitioners have also raised other issues such as extremely poor infrastructure at CLAT 2018 examination centres, lack of proper guidance from staff recruited by the examination centres and several instances of unfair conduct of the examination.

“For instance, at an examination centre as Hisar (Haryana) some test takers were seen attempting the examination till 7:00 PM whereas the exam was expected to conclude at 5:00 PM itself. In essence, it is submitted that the petitioners and thousands of others, similarly situated students were compelled to take the examination under grossly unfair condition seriously jeopardizing their result…”

What more

Besides seeking quashing of the exam and holding fresh exam, the petitioners have also prayed for stay of publication of final CLAT 2018 result-cum-merit list till the disposal of the petition.

This is not the first petition challenging CLAT 2018. A number of petitions had already been filed before various High Courts in the last week, raising concerns over the conduct of CLAT 2018.

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