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Kerala High Court Issues Notice On Plea Challenging CLAT Clearance As A Prerequisite To Be Appointed As Law Officers At NTPC

Hannah M Varghese
3 Jan 2022 10:18 AM GMT
Kerala High Court Issues Notice On Plea Challenging CLAT Clearance As A Prerequisite To Be Appointed As Law Officers At NTPC
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The Kerala High Court has issued notice on a plea seeking to quash the condition mandating applicants to clear CLAT for applying to the post of Assistant Law Officer in National Thermal Power Corporation Limited. When the matter came up for hearing today, Justice V.G. Arun posted it to be taken up on 5th January. The petitioner is an aspirant to the post of Assistant Law Officer at...

The Kerala High Court has issued notice on a plea seeking to quash the condition mandating applicants to clear CLAT for applying to the post of Assistant Law Officer in National Thermal Power Corporation Limited. 

When the matter came up for hearing today, Justice V.G. Arun posted it to be taken up on 5th January. 

The petitioner is an aspirant to the post of Assistant Law Officer at the EO level in NTPC and an LL.M student at Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) with a specialization in Intellectual Property Rights.

She completed LLB with an average score of 70% and claims to be an extremely bright student with several academic accolades to her account, therefore eligible to apply for the post of Assistant Law Officer at NTPC.

However, the notification issued by the Corporation mandates that the candidate must have appeared for CLAT-2021 to be considered for the post and that they will be shortlisted based on the rankings in the said examination. 

Aggrieved by the same, she moved the Court through Advocate Maitreyi S. Hegde alleging that the said condition is unjust, illegal and arbitrary. The same violates the principles of equality enshrined in Articles 14 and 16 as well the rights under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

It was further argued that the CLAT examination is an entrance examination to the National Universities across the country and that persons who opt not to pursue LL.M in such institutions do not appear for CLAT. That does not make the petitioner any lesser candidate, it was contended.

"As long as the institutions are approved by the Government, the State cannot discriminate between the NLUs and non- NLUs. Capable candidates can come from any institution and due to the above clause several students belonging to the economically weaker sections are put to prejudice. This even leads to indirect discrimination. Therefore, the clause is liable to be set aside."

It was also pointed out by the petitioner that several other students did not appear for CLAT due to financial constraints. Education at National Law Schools is expensive and is beyond reach to several law students and the very registration stage, fee for the examination is Rs. 4,000/- for the general category, the plea alleged.

This implies that thousands of students do not even opt to appear in CLAT examinations. Therefore, by mandating appearance in CLAT, the petitioner argued that such students were deprived of an opportunity. 

It was submitted that several other PSUs and government institutions, such as Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited, Power System Operation Corporation Limited, Oil India Limited, Power Grid Corporation of India Limited and Central Transmission Utility of India Limited, recently have been adopting the ranking in CLAT as an eligibility criterion and the same put the students from marginalised sections at an extreme disadvantage.

The plea added that the clause suffers from inherent arbitrariness apart from infringing the fundamental rights of the petitioner and similarly placed individuals. 

The online applications opened on 24.12.2021 and the last date of application has been stipulated as 07.01.2022.

As such, it was prayed that a direction be issued to the NTPC to accept applications from the petitioner and other similarly situated persons who are otherwise eligible and stay the further selection process until the above matter is adjudicated.

Case Title: Aishwarya Mohan v. Union of India & Ors

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