The Supreme Court dismissed a petition which challenged the conduct of the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) via online mode, citing accessibility issues.
A Bench headed by Justice L. Nageswara Rao heard the matter and dismissed the same. Advocate Mitul Jain submitted to the Bench that the move to not have any specific centres to conduct CLAT, would effectively not allow students who do not have access to a computer system to sit for the admission test. To this submission, Justice Rao asked the Counsel about why he was concerned with this particular issue, as the Court had seen many different kinds of complaints regarding CLAT over the years. The Counsel responded that some students had come to him for guidance. In response, Justice Rao stated, "Oh, so you run a coaching centre." Accordingly, the plea was dismissed. CLAT 2020 is scheduled to be held on August 22, 2020. The last date for application was July 10.
The decision had been taken by the Executive Committee of the Consortium of National Law Universities, after reviewing the impact of the lockdowns and other restrictions arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was stated that the examination would be held through a "computer-based, online, centre-based" test. The notification issued by the Committee intimating the same states,
"an off-line test, as initially contemplated, would require large scale movement of students to limited centres, and significant logistics in the handling of question papers and answer scripts, which is not possible during the prevalent pandemic conditions. Further, an on-line test at home with technological measures cannot ensure transparency, fairness and integrity of a high stakes examination process or maintain equitable access to necessary facilities. Hence, the EC concluded that an on-line test at a large number of centres compliant with physical distancing and public health safety prescriptions is in the best interests of the health and safety of candidates and test administrators."
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