Grievance Redressal Committee Submits Report On CLAT 2018; Admits 6 Defects; Suggests Compensatory Mechanism May Be Devised [Read Report]
Recently I wrote on how the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2018 was the worst ever organized CLAT since 2008 and how although the Supreme Court has refused to cancel it, it deserved to be quashed and the larger issues of curing the defects in the conduction of an entrance cum selection examination need to be addressed. You may read the report here.
The Grievance Redressal Committee (GRC) comprising of Justice M.R.Hariharan Nair and Professor Dr. Santosh Kumar G. submitted its report before the Supreme Court day before yesterday. The GRC analyzed a total of 8500 complaints (32 + 2676 + 115 + 5677). It admitted that it could not go into many allegations which required the collection of evidence on spot. It could also not view any video recordings to get hold of what transpired in the hall.
The GRC Report therefore is based admittedly only on consideration of the allegations with reference to the data available on the Audit Report alone. We must nevertheless appreciate the two-member GRC for undertaking this hefty exercise and submitting a timely report.
The GRC noticed that the complaints fall under 12 broad categories, namely-
- Frequent login Failures
- Change of machines/mouse and disruptions
- Questions not visible in full or in part
- Registered answers disappeared
- Heat and unfavourable environment
- Commotion and distraction
- Time extensions not effective as there was no re-log in
- Undue time extension was given to some
- Deliberate cheating by closure of browser
- Power failure and absence of UPS needing multiple logins and distraction of concentration
- Pre-examination preparation sessions were ineffective; very often machines had to be changed and distracted
- Invigilators unhelpful
The findings of the report suggest that out of 8500, 210 candidates got marginally lesser time than expected to complete the exam and including those who lost more than 2 minutes, it is 304. 2276 candidates had single log in session right from commencement till culmination. 1899 candidates needed multiple log in sessions with no response in the first session and 515 candidates needed multiple log in sessions with response in the first session.
Out of the 1899 candidates, due extension of time was not given in 892 cases involving multiple sessions. Out of these 892 cases, 623 candidates got effective time of 2 hours for completing the examination. Out of 1899, 558 candidates were given time extension which they availed and 449 candidates were given time extension which was not availed.
The GRC therefore finds 6 major defects in CLAT 2018:
- The majority of complaints relate to the failure of initial log in. Multiple log in appears to have affected the performance of the system. The service provider i.e. Sify was duty bound to provide trouble free software.
- Conduct of a test of this magnitude without providing efficient software and computers to the candidates has resulted in avoidable interruptions in answering questions.
- Infrastructural defects like want/failure of the air conditioning systems which stood in the way of the best performance of students in many centres in the examination conducted at the peak of summer.
- Power failure which affected many centres has resulted in loss of time and disturbance to the concentration of mind required for a smooth performance in a competitive exam.
- Failure of invigilators to facilitate re-login, which is essential for availing the benefit of extended time granted to compensate for lost time arising from power failure, system hanging etc.
- Failure to grant extended time even in cases where first login attempt failed or in the subsequent attempts the time obtained is lower that what is prescribed, though such reduction was only marginal.
The GRC has therefore suggested a two mode process to cure the defects. One, it candidly holds that exam may be cancelled and re-examination may be conducted. However, it adds a rider that considering the magnitude of requirements and smooth education during the academic year, the same may not be feasible.
Second, the GRC suggested that since it has no expertise to compensate loss of time, a statistician or someone having competence in this regard may be added to the committee. It also added that it needs to be ensured that rank of candidates in the existing list is not affected.
The matter is now posted before the Supreme Court on 11th June. Interestingly due to different rosters per week in the vacations, till now 7 different judges in 4 different combinations have heard the matter and on 11th, the 5th bench and 2 more Hon’ble judges will hear it.
Read the Report Here