The Supreme Court is set to hear a Petition filed by six students from three States demanding a retest of the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), 2018 tomorrow.
The Petition, filed through Advocates Anand Shankar Jha and Siddharth Tiwari highlights various instances of "grossly improper, arbitrary and negligent conduct" of the examination, and claims that students from more than 15 States are likely to join the petition in the near future.
The Petition begins by listing down several hardships faced by the students due to the technical glitches that marred this year's examination, and submits that several students lost about 5 to 30 minutes due to such technical issues. Besides, it also places on record other problems faced by the students, including poor infrastructure of examination centers, lack of proper guidance from staff recruited by the examination centers and copying.
It thereafter contends, "...the lackadaisical implementation of CLAT 2018 has severely jeopardized the future of students who have sacrificed precious years to get a fair chance for those 2 hours, which was conveniently taken away from them on account of gross negligence exhibited by the CLAT Convener."
The Petition goes on to cite the response by NUALS Kochi’s Vice Chancellor Prof. Rose Varghese, who claimed that such issues were faced only by 1.5% of the total students. It then submits that even with such assertions, at least 850 students were denied an opportunity to take the exam in a " fair, effective and transparent manner".
It further highlights the fact that neither have the students' representations been acknowledged by the authorities, nor has an expert committee been appointed to look into the issues. Thereafter, alleging violation of their Fundamental Rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India, it submits,
"Respondent 2 [NUALS, Kochi] and 3 [Core Committee- CLAT 2018] cannot be permitted to take advantage of their own wrong and the shield of limited time schedule for the examination. This deliberate executive inaction by Respondent No. 2 and 3 hits at the very basis of the principles of accountability, fair play, transparency and is violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution...
...the very semblance of “Equal Opportunity” preserved and protected under Article 16 is lost if the Common Entrance Examination of such a stature is marred with replete instances of gross negligence and mismanagement. The most severely affected category would be that of students who are meritorious and have invested countless hours over months, if not years, preparing to make their names in prestigious National Law Universities."
With these submissions, the Petition demands quashing of the exam, and conducting it afresh. It further seeks a stay on the publication of the final result till the disposal of the Petition, asserting that due to the mismanagement, the merit list released would be "flawed". Besides, it also seeks constitution of a committee of experts to look into the grievances raised by the students.