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Job aspirants from DU complain about prejudicial CLAT-PSU agreement, schedules, fees

CLAT too expensive and unfair to for PSUs to use results
CLAT too expensive and unfair to for PSUs to use results

The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) prejudices non-elite and non-NLU graduates, two Delhi University (DU) students have complained.

Two final year DU LLB students, Mohit Gupta and Vikas Bhaskar, had filed a representation with the CLAT core committee in January, asking the committee to revise the schedule of, and fees for, CLAT 2017.

The complainants’ end semester exams at DU had not yet concluded by 14 May - the date of the CLAT 2017. This, they claimed, had hurt their prospects in applying for jobs in various public sector undertakings (PSUs), which ask for applicants’ CLAT scores as part of their selection criteria.

The complainants are also opposed to public sector undertakings (PSUs) buying the right to use CLAT scores, and have written to the Ministry of Commerce & Industry alleging that the PSUs are illegally denying them “access to employment”.

PSU jobs

CLAT 2017 convenor CNLU Patna earned Rs 21.3 lakh this year from PSUs Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) and Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) in exchange for those PSUs being allowed to use job applicants’ CLAT scores as eligibility criteria for hiring into positions.

CNLU’s vice chancellor (VC) Dr A Lakshminath said that for the last few years each CLAT convenor had been entering into such a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with PSUs.

CLAT 2016 convenor RGNUL Patiala’s VC Prof Paramjit Jaswal, who had also entered into a similar MoU with PSUs last year, told us that he had suggested that CNLU track data on how many LLM candidates wished to take the CLAT 2017 for an LLM seat in one of the NLUs, and how many wished to appear only for the purpose of acquiring a score for the PSU selection process.

However, CNLU registrar SP Singh said that after discussing the proposal, CNLU found it impractical in light of the fact that there was nothing stopping PSU aspirants appearing for the CLAT to eventually also take an LLM seat.

But one national law school VC said that he was against the practice of CLAT convenors allowing the PSUs to use the CLAT score in their selection process, as this resulted in LLM seat vacancies in newer NLUs and even certain older ones, eventually causing a loss in revenue to the NLUs.

What the PSUs are paying [for using the CLAT score] was not a large sum but “peanuts compared to what it would cost them to hold their own exams for selection” the VC commented, estimating that their own entrance test could cost only between Rs 25-30 lakh.

CLAT schedule and fee

The complainants from DU noted, in their representation, that the end semester exam dates of various prominent non-NLUs in India clashed with the date of CLAT 2017, which stayed clear of all NLUs end semester exam dates except RGNUL Patiala’s.

They said that this prejudiced thousands of students not studying in NLUs and preparing for their end semester exams at the same time as CLAT.

They also said that the amount of fee charged by CLAT was set at too highly, at Rs 4,000 for general candidates and Rs 3,500 for SC/ST candidates. They noted the much lower fees of various other exams, such as the CEED (Rs 2200, 1100), JEE (Rs 1800, 900), CAT (Rs 1700, 850), GATE (Rs 1500, 750), NEET (Rs 1400, 750), AIPMT (Rs 1200, 650) and NET (Rs 450, 225).

They wrote that this schedule and fee was “arbitrary” and “a tyranny to the candidates who are not financially strong enough to pay for the applications (thus seeking for jobs), and thus are deprived of their chances of selection as a law officer/legal advisor in these reputed Public Sector Undertakings”.

But despite the high fee charged, the fee from the PSUs and the benefit of attracting several LLM applicants who are not actually looking for LLM seats but PSU jobs, CLAT’s LLM selection process was not up to the mark, asserted some academics.

Nalsar VC Prof Faizan Mustafa commented today: “Taking an online test for LLM admission is not good, it should be a descriptive paper.”

Mustafa also added that the CLAT committee should only issue the candidates’ scorecards but admissions should be done directly by the NLUs, and not by the CLAT convenor, based on scores.

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