Shamnad Basheer, former NUJS Kolkata professor and founder of NGO Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA), has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court seeking a permanent CLAT body and transparency in the exam.

Senior advocate KK Venugopal is appearing pro bono for Basheer, assisted by advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan and advocate-on-record (AoR) Liz Mathew.

The petition, weighing in at 848 pages with appendices, is set to come up for hearing in the Supreme Court at 11:30 today.

At least 18 Legally India and/or Mint articles covering the CLAT have been included in the annexures to the petition.

Basheer has challenged the CLAT for its “arbitrary, unreasonable, inconsistent, opaque, negligent, sub-standard and inefficient implementation” and has asserted that CLAT's “planning and execution over the years has been marred with serious institutional lapses and inefficiencies, such as arbitrary and sub-standard question papers, incorrect questions and answers, questions that have no reasonable nexus to ones aptitude for the study of law, wrongful allotments of seats, unnecessary delays and an opaque administration that fails to comply with basic standards of transparency and the norms underlying the [Right to Information] Act”, according to the petition.

The prayer of the petition reads:

  1. Pass a Writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction to appoint an expert committee consisting of key stakeholders from the legal ecosystem (comprising members of Academia, the Bench and the Bar) to review the working of the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) and suggest institutional reforms with a view to placing it on a more robust institutional pedestal such that the exam is of a very high calibre, standards are consistent and the exam is conducted in the most professional and scientific and error free manner each year; and/or

  2. Pass a Writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction to the Respondents to constitute an independent professional permanent body tasked with conducting CLAT on an annual basis on behalf of the Respondent Universities in a scientific, competent and consistent manner, minimising the scope for errors in paper setting and in the administration of the exam, including framing of syllabus, determination of application fees and concessions, format of exam, declaration of results, announcement of merit lists, counselling and allotments;

  3. Pass a Writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction against the Respondents to be fully transparent in the conduct of CLAT and comply with proactive disclosure norms as provided for under the Right to Information Act, 2005;

Read the CLAT writ petition (PDF)

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1
Like +19 Object -6 Guest 31 Aug 15, 12:24  interesting  top rated  controversial
The root cause of the problems with CLAT is that the VCs and top admin at NLUs are totally stupid and inept. If bright law school graduates joined the teaching profession and became VCs, this problem would not happen. In fact, I don't think there is even a single BALLB graduate of NLS or NALSAR teaching in India! The few NLS grads who teach only do so abroad (like Tarunabh at Oxford, Umakanth at NUS, Shyam at UPenn etc). Thus, the VCs and admin of NLUs are graduates of third tier universities who cannot even speak English properly. Part of the problem is that websites like LI give too much hype to law firms and salaries and so people from NLUs do not become teachers. It is the complete opposite at Harvard, Yale etc, where the best and brightest aspire to become law teachers.
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1.1
Like +17 Object -7 Outsider 31 Aug 15, 19:40  interesting  controversial
There are at least 10 graduates from the top 3 NLUs currently teaching in India. That's just those whom I know personally. I am sure there are more. The starting salary for law teachers in an NLU is not that bad, actually. It still doesn't hold a patch to the law firm career though. However, most of these people are still too junior to be able to make a significant change in the system.
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1.1.1
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Like +6 Object -7 zorro 01 Sep 15, 10:25  controversial
Totally incorrect. If you look at the faculty in all NLUs less then 10 are alumni of the top NLUs. You are possibly referring to people who did their LLM from NLUs. I am talking about people who did their BALLBs from NLUs. Maybe Legally India can do a breakup!
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1.1.1.1
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Like +0 Object -0 Guest 01 Sep 15, 18:52
Sorry ZoRRo

the below mentioned reply (Only at jindal 10 teachers) was not meant here but to the first comment.
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1.1.1.2
Like +10 Object -0 Outsider 01 Sep 15, 19:02  interesting
I was talking about teaching in India and not teaching at NLUs. And no, I am referring to NLU grads too, not the LL.M. holders. Jindal alone has 3 NUJS grads teaching there. NUJS has at least 4 grads from NALSAR and NUJS teaching there at present. NLUD has about 3 more. These three alone makes it 10. Your information source doesn't match your sword thrust, unfortunately! :)
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Like +3 Object -0 Guest 01 Sep 15, 17:52
Only at Jindal there are 10 teachers who did their LLB from NLS & NALSAR and if you include NUJS then around 17-18. Employed by C RK who did not go to any NLU!

4 are at NLUD alone.

This arrogance stinks.

We will wait for the day when a Graduate from NLS which is there since 1988 to build an Institute like NLS & NALSAR created by non NLU people like Menon and Ranbeer. But it seems the only thing they know to do is due diligence for SAM or CAM.
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Like +1 Object -0 Guest 01 Sep 15, 18:50
Only at Jindal there are 10 teachers who did their LLB from NLS & NALSAR and if you include NUJS then around 17-18. Employed by C RK who did not go to any NLU!

4 are at NLUD alone.

This arrogance stinks.

We will wait for the day when a Graduate from NLS which is there since 1988 to build an Institute like NLS & NALSAR created by non NLU people like Menon and Ranbeer. But it seems the only thing they know to do is due diligence for SAM or CAM.
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1.4
Like +9 Object -0 Inexplicable Preferences 01 Sep 15, 23:31  interesting
@ Guest: While I agree with the broader point about poor leadership in the Indian law schools, you seem to be mistaken in stating that no B.A. LL.B. graduate from NLSIU or NALSAR is currently teaching in India. At NLSIU itself, there are three at the moment, namely Sarasu Thomas (1995 batch), Rahul Singh (2003 batch) and Kunal Ambasta (2012 batch). NALSAR currently has Sidharth Chauhan (NLS 2008 batch) and Ajey Sengai (NALSAR 2011 batch). NLU Delhi has at least six, i.e. Mrinal Satish (NLS 2001 batch), Aparna Chandra (NLS 2006), R.S. Akila (NLS 2006), Anup Surendranath (NALSAR 2006), Chinmayi Arun (NALSAR 2006) and Neha Singhal (NLS 2008). NUJS has Saurabh Bhattacharjee who is a 2005 graduate from NALSAR.

As indicated in one of the other comments, Jindal Global Law School presently has quite a few teachers who are NLSIU and NALSAR alumni. I can think of Matthew John (1998), Faiz Tajuddin (2005), Arun Sagar (2005) and Surabhi Shukla (2011) among the NLS alumni. They also have NALSAR grads such as Pritam Baruah (2005), Radhika Gupta (2011), Shikhaa Beri (2006), Mihira Sood (2007) and Manav Kapur (2010) among the names that I can recall. There are several NUJS alumni who are also teaching in Indian law schools.
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Like +0 Object -0 GNLU faculty 02 Sep 15, 12:53
You do not need to be from an NLU to be a good teacher or administrator. One can cite the examples of legends like Prof Madhav Menon and Prof Bimal Patel, who is an inspiration for us at GNLU.
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Like +1 Object -0 anon 02 Sep 15, 13:01
We are discussing NLUs here. Please do not discuss JGLS.

It is good that NLUD is attracting NLU alumni, but why so few at NLSIU, NALSAR and NUJS? NUJS just has ONE? WTF???
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1.4.3.3
Like +7 Object -0 Ex-NUJS 02 Sep 15, 22:29  interesting
NUJS actually has one NALSAR alumnus (Saurabh Bhattacharjee) and three NUJS (Shameek Sen, 2005 Batch, Paromita Dasgupta, 2007 Batch and Shouvik Guha, 2010 Batch) alumni teaching there at present. One of the major reason why there aren't more is actually the current administration's stupid insistence on UGC NET qualification, which in itself is one of the most useless examinations one can ever think of. Also another problem is that all the older teachers have been made permanent there and despite the sub-par performance of several, they cannot be removed to make way for new blood. I guess that problem is there even at NLSIU and NALSAR. NLUD being relatively younger doesn't suffer from that handicap, I guess. Making incompetent teachers permanent instead of adopting the tenure system is one of the major banes of Indian education system, I'd say.
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Like +1 Object -2 A 03 Sep 15, 09:58
Good point. MP Singh is to blame for this. LI should interview him and ask why he made incompetent teachers permanent. In fact, a PIL should be filed seeking a corruption investigation.
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Like +2 Object -3 Writ Monster 31 Aug 15, 12:24
What's so monster about this writ? It's a writ dealing with an important issue but then so do most writs. Headline could have been framed in a better manner.
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2.1
Like +9 Object -1 kianganz 31 Aug 15, 12:30  interesting
With the appendices it's 848 pages long...

That's quite monster :)
http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2303715-anti-clat-writ-petition.html
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Like +23 Object -1 X 31 Aug 15, 12:35  interesting  top rated
the court should direct NLUD to join clat. it is totally illegal how they can not be part of it.
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Like +2 Object -1 VinB 01 Sep 15, 20:57
How is NLUD deciding not to join CLAT illegal?_?
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Like +2 Object -0 observer 31 Aug 15, 12:55
brilliant move! one only hopes that the SC acts on it soon keeping in mind clear clarity for the thousands of young students interested in writing CLAT next year
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Like +0 Object -3 alia 31 Aug 15, 14:24
This writ deals with almost all the problems but then the petitioner forgot a major point and that is the age limit issue. Clat has the same age limit i.e, 20 years but in ailet,blat,mnlu etc the upper age limit is either 21 or 22 .
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5.1
Like +13 Object -1 Outsider 31 Aug 15, 19:40  interesting  top rated
This year, CLAT actually didn't have an age limit.
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Like +2 Object -1 pi 31 Aug 15, 15:03
typo on pg 48 should be compromising instead of comprising
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Like +3 Object -0 Vella 31 Aug 15, 16:39
Tsk! Such a monster writ and it shows NALSAR as being in the State of Andhra Pradesh. Ms Mathew needs better copy editors.
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Like +2 Object -1 anon 31 Aug 15, 16:44
A permanent body will be a source of permanent centralized corruption
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Like +2 Object -0 World Class NLUs 01 Sep 15, 00:00
History has shown that change is always preceded by extraordinary chaos. The Second World War wiped out 60 million humans from the face of this earth in direct war casualties, both military and civilian combined.

What followed this greatest devastation in human history was a spectacular era of industrial progress and economic prosperity -- led with a vengeance by the United States, Europe and Japan -- the three regions that had suffered the maximum destruction in the war.

Similarly, the illustrious NLUs have also collectively worked very hard to at last invite the attention of the Hon'ble Supreme Court to scrutinize CLAT -- the very genesis of their existence.

A second petition must now be made to the government of India, recommending a special exhibit on the next Republic Day parade -- to showcase before the world these absolutely world class NLUs -- the pride of an emerging global power.
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10
Like +7 Object -1 guest 01 Sep 15, 00:46  interesting
Kian you should look into the deeper reasons for the rot in the legal education bureaucracy. Interview Shamnad, Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Sid Chauhan etc and ask them why Indian law schools are in such shambles and why they quit their jobs.
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Like +0 Object -0 kianganz 02 Sep 15, 23:02
Hi, in response to comment being moderated, is it really so important a point you are making?
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Like +3 Object -0 Ex-NUJS 03 Sep 15, 08:21
@Kian: Without arguing the significance of the point raised in the context of this post, I never knew that played any role in your decision to choose which comment stays or which goes, judging from those completely pointless (yet not critical) ones that are usually allowed in the comments section. If the one asking you to interview three academics portraying the bureaucracy being responsible as the sole reason for all their quitting can be allowed, I fail to see any feasible reason why mine cannot either. Just an example of high-handedness from someone who usually professes free speech, which is somewhat disappointing.
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Like +0 Object -0 kianganz 03 Sep 15, 09:23
If for argument's sake, you're saying someone is a bad teacher, or their research skills are weak, or they don't know anything about their subject, any of those are fairly substantive and potentially damaging allegation to make against an academic.

The question of importance comes in about whether we should chase it up and corroborate it from independent sources in order to publish it.

On a balance of the relative importance of your statement, particularly in the context of this discussion where it's at best ancillary, we've had to opt for not publishing in this case. Trust that makes some sense.
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Like +1 Object -0 ABC 01 Sep 15, 14:16
The NLUs are dens of corruption. It is sad that the media ignores it.
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Like +0 Object -0 Eagle Eye 03 Sep 15, 00:19
With the word CLAT subject of so much discussion....I hope the proof-reading is up-to-scratch,,,,to avoid any blushes in case a typo gets through!!
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Like +0 Object -0 Hero 04 Sep 15, 12:55
Kian there is an interesting article on the very subject being discussed in today's papers. You should read it and do a story on why NLUs face a faculty problem.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/education/private-varsities-lure-faculty-from-government-institutes-with-crore-plus-pay-packages-and-perks/articleshow/48795858.cms
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Like +0 Object -0 jackal 04 Sep 15, 16:19
what is clat?
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14.1
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Like +0 Object -0 jackass 07 Sep 15, 18:27
Common Law Admission Test
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Like +0 Object -0 BEBE 10 Sep 15, 10:56
You can't afford to miss out on Avik Mazumdar ex-NLS BA.LLB who is teaching at the NLUO.The problem is that NLU grads prefer corporate/law firm jobs more than teaching just because it pays them better than being a teacher.
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Like +0 Object -0 Amit Chauhan 10 Sep 15, 11:14
Something that I would like to add here-It's unfortunate that no NLU grad has any inclination to make a brand NLU.They just crack CLAT,join a NLU of their choice,do their 5 years study,log moots and essay writing competitions that they participate(Only to make a brilliant CV to secure a glamourous job)and at the end wait for day zero.Once they get a job they quickly vanish from their eX-NLU.Why only a handful returns back as a faculty or research associate is a well known fact.Unlike IIT or IIM where there is a pride to make a brand IIT or IIM,here the kids fight on silly topics like which NLU is the better one.I haven't heard of any NLU becoming the mentor of a newer one.They want the newer one to rot.Do the NLU grads have any pride at all?There is hardly any student exchange programme that I have heard of.Listen guys,you need first to have a pride in being from NLU,not only by your effort in proving if NALSAR is better or NLS,or how many jobs GNLU secured as compared to NLUJ,but to make an effort by which you will feel that its the duty of all Ex NLU grads to be the mentor to your brothers who were not so lucky to join the older NLUs.
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