The Bar Council of India (BCI) has constituted a committee to consider the viability of conducting the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) for admissions into National Law Schools in regional languages, in addition to English.
The BCI move comes after the Delhi High Court directed the Statutory Body to consider the demand made by Pratham Koushik, Naveen Koushik and Arun Bharadwaj for conducting CLAT in regional languages..
In a letter addressed to the petitioners before the Delhi HC, the BCI has shown its inclination to conduct CLAT in regional languages and opined that "as the knowledge or lack of English language does not determine ones intelligence, ability, acumen, dedication, IQ etc., therefore, prima-facie the exam should be conducted in vernacular languages too. In fact the Bar Council of India conducts All India Bar Examination in 11 languages including English."
In furtherance of such an endeavor, it is informed that the BCI has constituted a 7 member committee comprising of representatives of Law Schools and other stakeholders.
Thus acknowledging its role as the regulator of legal education in the country, BCI has communicated that it will look to ensure that no deserving candidate is deprived a shot at cracking CLAT.
"The Council being the regulator of Legal Education and Legal Profession, prima facie is of the view that no deserving candidate should be deprived from giving the CLAT on account of his/her inability to be proficient in English", assures the Body.
The issue is a multi-dimensional one which not only requires assertion of how many regional languages the Test could be conducted in, but also regarding the course structure in Law Schools after the session begins. Thus it is communicated that:-
"Another aspect that would be required to be considered is, as to in how many vernacular languages are semester exams being conducted in Law Universities across the Country, as on date. It is but obvious, that after clearing CLAT, the next request could be to hold semester exams in regional languages too in National Law Universities. Presently many Universities conduct exams in English and in one i.e. regional language of the State. However, National Law Universities depict a national character, and it cannot be compared to other State Universities, or Private Universities, and therefore, this issue has to be given a deep and thoughtful consideration."
Furthermore, it is informed that the Committee will consider the feasibility of rescheduling this year's CLAT to accommodate only those applicants who may wish to take the Test in a regional language.
Additionally, it is communicated that the road map regarding the issue would be placed before the Apex Court through an affidavit, as a matter regarding conducting of CLAT is already pending before it.
The BCI has said that the committee will consist of former and sitting Vice-Chancellors of National Law Universities, academicians and two members of BCI. The committee will be headed by a Former Chief Justice of a High Court.
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Read BCI Letter