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Supreme Court refuses to order stay announcement on CLAT results

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The Supreme Court, on May 24th, directed the National University of Advanced Legal Studies Kochi (NUALS) to bring in a ‘wholesome solution’ to redress the complaints of CLAT 2018 takers, aggrieved by the technical snags at the exam centres across India on the 13th May online paper.

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The SC bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha was hearing the CLAT 2018 petition filed by six test takers, with Senior Advocate Salman Khurshid as their counsel. Senior Advocate V Giri and Advocate A Karthik were representing NUALS Kochi.

The court-room proceedings

No sooner the proceeding commenced, Justice Khanwilkar shot a question at the NUALS Kochi Counsel, V Giri, “How are you going to resolve these problems?”

While Giri argued that these are just seven candidates, Justice Khanwilkar pointed out that it is not the problem of petitioners alone, but involves a mass.

NUALS Kochi, further, submitted that out of the total 59,300 test takers (including BA LLB and LLM), the NLU has received only 251 aggrieved representations, so far, claiming that they had suffered on account of errors and glitches at the exam centres.

The above representations leave out other 2,120 potentially aggrieved candidates, who had also suffered on the similar grounds according to one of the Google Forms, that opened up to responses by a free CLAT Tutorial.

Advocate Giri further submitted that the test takers were given extra time to complete their online test at centres, wherever technical snags were hit.

The NUALS Kochi Counsel also submitted a detailed log-reports before the Bench, which mentioned the various details including–

  • Time taken by the candidates to complete the test.
  • Number of times candidates got logged out.
  • Number of questions attempted and answered.
  • While perusing the log-reports, Justice Khanwilkar asked NUALS, if they can provide a grievance redressal forum or mechanism where all the complaints can be addressed.

Stating that NUALS too wishes for grievances to be addressed, Senior Counsel Giri said “We are a university. We are not in an adversarial position to any student.”

The court orders

Noting that there are a number of factual aspects and complaints that need to be looked into, Justice Khanwilkar directed the NLU to provide a common platform or redressal forum to look into the complaints and should come up with a wholesome solution.

“Case to case questions will have to be looked into. They (Respondent Institute) can appoint some authority to look into the case to case aspects and that will ease a lot of problems”, Justice Khanwilkar said.

Stay order on all HC CLAT Cases

Further, Salman Khurshid, representing the CLAT 2018 petitioners drew the court’s attention towards several other pending petition cases before other High Courts.

The Court directed various High Courts not to proceed with similar petitions until May 25 as The SC is to hear the matter again. It will then decide whether to transfer the High Courts’ pending petitions into itself.

The background

CLAT 2018 was conducted on May 13 by NUALS Kochi heading the 19-NLU Core Committee. The online examination was marred by the alleged technical glitches at centres across India, following which the test takers are seeking justice in the courts against the ‘misconduct’ of CLAT 2018.

A number of petitions calling for the re-conduct of the Common Law Admission test have been filed in the High Courts of Delhi, Punjab & Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.

The Common Law Admission Test is the national level law exam for admissions to 2300 undergraduate seats on offer in the participating 19 NLUs.

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