16 Sep 2023 1:51 AM GMT
The Bar Council of India on Friday offered to conduct the Common Law Entrance Test (CLAT) for admissions to law schools. The apex lawyers' body said it has mechanism to conduct CLAT in multiple regional languages, as it did for AIBE (All India Bar Examination).The exam is currently conducted by the Consortium of NLUs on rotational basis. BCI said this arrangement amongst the national...
The Bar Council of India on Friday offered to conduct the Common Law Entrance Test (CLAT) for admissions to law schools. The apex lawyers' body said it has mechanism to conduct CLAT in multiple regional languages, as it did for AIBE (All India Bar Examination).
The exam is currently conducted by the Consortium of NLUs on rotational basis. BCI said this arrangement amongst the national law universities has no statutory recognition. It added that BCI is the "sole interested statutory body in the field of legal education" but is given no role or supervision in the said admission test.
“That the Bar Council of India proposes that it may be permitted to constitute the body of experts through its Legal Education Committee, to hold CLAT wherein the Legal Education Committee council involve some sitting and former Hon'ble Judges, noted educationists of legal education and eminent jurists,” BCI's affidavit stated.
The development comes in a public interest litigation filed by a law student seeking the conduct of CLAT-UG 2024 not only in English but also in other regional languages mentioned in the eighth schedule of the Constitution.
The Consortium of NLUs had earlier told the High Court that while AIBE can be easily translated and conducted in multiple languages, CLAT examination involves much more issues in translation. However, BCI supported the PIL and said that conducting CLAT in regional languages will give opportunities to more citizens to pursue law as a career.
“Bar Council of India has the experience of conducting similar examination i.e. AIBE successfully in most fair and transparent manner. It has the mechanism in place to conduct even the entrance/admission test for law courses for all the Institutions imparting legal education in the country through a Common Entrance Test in Various languages as the same will opportunities to more citizens of the country to appear in the exam and pursue law as a career,” BCI's affidavit adds.
Saying that it is conducting AIBE in 23 languages, the BCI asserted that no deserving candidate should be left out of CLAT due to lack of proficiency in English language.
The matter is fixed for hearing on October 06 before a division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad.
The PIL filed through Advocates Akash Vajpai and Sakshi Raghav states that CLAT examination fails to provide a “level playing field” to the students whose educational backgrounds are rooted in regional languages. It has been submitted that the practice of taking CLAT (UG) examination only in English language has an element of arbitrariness and discrimination and is violative of Articles 14 and 29(2) of Constitution of India.
The plea cites a recent survey conducted by IDIA Trust indicating that "proficiency in the English language continues to be a major factor for gaining admission to a top NLU in the country".
It has also been submitted that the new Education Policy of 2020 and Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 require mother tongue to be the medium of instruction in schools and higher education institutions.
Case Title: SUDHANSHU PATHAK v. CONSORTIUM OF NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITIES THROUGH SECRETARY & ORS