Subscribe for perks & to support LI

Your Interests & Preferences: Personalise your reading

Which best describes your role and/or interests?

I work in a law firm
I work for a company / in-house
I'm a litigator at the bar
I'm a law student
Aspiring law student
Other
Save setting
Or click here to show more preferences...

I am interested in the following types of stories (uncheck to hide from frontpage)

Firms / In-House
Deals
Courts
Legal Education

Always show me: (overrides the above)

Exclusives & Editor's Picks

Website Look & Feel

Light Text on Dark Background

Save preferences


Note: Your preferences will be saved in your browser. You can always change your settings by clicking the Your Preferences button at the top of every page.

Reset preferences to defaults?

NLS, Nalsar, NUJS students jointly slam CLAT 2018 conduct, support permanent CLAT body, blame contractors

NLSIU Bangalore, Nalsar Hyderabad and NUJS Kolkata student associations have come out in support of the thousands of candidates aggrieved each year by technical errors in the conduct of the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), in a joint statement.

The associations have asked to place liability on the vendors responsible for the glitches, to reverse the online format of the test back into a the manual format and, foremost, to hand over the conduct of this entrance exam to a permanent body.

The joint statement is as follows:

THE (MIS)MANAGEMEMENT OF THE COMMON LAW ADMISSION TEST

On behalf of the SBA at NLSIU, the SBC at NALSAR and the SJA at NUJS

The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is the most important and prestigious entrance examination in the realm of Indian legal education. It carries with itself the fate of more than fifty thousand aspirants who seek to gain admission into the premier national law universities (NLUs).

Many CLAT aspirants leave no stone unturned to fulfil their dream – from seeking professional coaching to preparing rigorously at the cost of their schooling and sometimes even dropping out for a year – to secure admission into an NLU of their choice. Even a minute difference of 0.25 marks can decide the fate of an aspirant for the coming five years.

It is in this context that the story of mismanagement and poor organisation of CLAT is, unfortunately, not new. Under the current system, the test is conducted by the 19 participating law schools by rotation, in the order of their establishment. Resultantly, a new NLU organises every subsequent edition of CLAT from the scratch and with no prior experience of doing so, thereby creating a palette of new problems every year.

In 2012, the CLAT was followed by an official answer key with at least four incorrect answers, leading to loss of marks for many aspirants, including one NUJS alumnus, Mr. Archit Krishna.

While the Delhi High Court ruled in his favour on merits, since Archit had already completed a year at NUJS by the time when the final judgment was delivered, the Court did not allow his prayers, seeking transfer to his higher preference law school. In 2014, the scores and ranks released for the CLAT were challenged and were thus followed by a second set of revised scores and ranks for all entrants. In 2015, CLAT was converted from the pen-paper format to an online examination. It witnessed severe criticism for making the exam inaccessible, especially for students from rural and other non-affluent backgrounds, apart from being accompanied by several technical glitches. The same trend continued in 2016 and 2017. However, this year’s CLAT, organised by NUALS, Kochi on May 13, 2018 surpassed all prior records of mismanagement and many meritorious and hardworking students were left disheartened and devastated at the end of the examination.

While the exact nature and intensity of such technical glitches, as experienced by candidates, varied between different examination centres, the abysmal failure of the IT vendor tasked with the implementation of technical aspects of the examination is as enraging as it is alarming. Widely reported instances of mismanagement depict a host of technical breakdowns, including, but by no means limited to, questions not appearing on the screen, unresponsive navigation buttons, the allotted computer systems hanging/shutting down randomly and arbitrary restarts during the test with an advanced timer [see: Live Law].

This failure on the technical side is at the root of most problems that arose. The confusion and frustration of candidates taking the test was, however, further aggravated due to the lack of any timely technical assistance and blatant non-cooperation from the invigilating staff at such examinations centres. Many of the chosen centres even lacked basic infrastructure facilities such as drinking water, a cooling system or uninterrupted electricity supply [see: Lawctopus]. There were also complaints of extra time being awarded arbitrarily to some students depending on the whims and fancies of the invigilators. Reports from Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) further show that a few candidates suffering from visual impairment and taking the test in Delhi were neither provided with extra time that they were legally entitled to nor given other separate facilities as prescribed under the law of the land. According to responses to a Google form published online by Law School 101, more than fourteen hundred candidates claim that they have been adversely affected by technical glitches at 243 examination centres across India [see: Youth Ki Awaaz].

In 2015, a public interest writ petition was filed before the Supreme Court of India against such continued mismanagement and apathy by IDIA founder and one of the foremost intellectual property law experts, Prof. Shamnad Basheer. Prof. Basheer ultimately sought the appointment of a permanent body for conducting CLAT to ensure that the test is conducted in a consistently competent, fair, transparent and efficient manner [see: Live Law].

In this tale of continued apathy, we, as the students of law, and proud members of the legal community feel the need to intervene and address these persistent limiting conditions to the entry of meritorious students into the legal profession. The conduct of the examination must be handed over to a permanent professional body which can not only remedy the existing infrastructural and technical problems but also ensure a degree of consistency, transparency and inclusivity.

It is as necessary that some semblance of justice be made available to aggrieved aspirants, as it is that the vendors responsible for technical failures be held responsible. It is time that we consider moving back to a paper-pen format which certainly leaves lesser scope for such errors than the computerised format that has been forced upon candidates in the recent years. The Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) at least allows candidates the option of taking an offline examination, and National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test is still completely offline just like the Civil Services Examination. We see no justification for denying the candidates the choice of taking the examination without having to worry about system failures and black screens.

In the past, as in Archit’s case, justice has been delivered but not in time to be of any use to the aggrieved candidates. Given the gravity of the injustice experienced in CLAT 2018, we sincerely hope this will not be one such instance. We further hope that the NLUs can come together to institute a successful mechanism to deal with this persistent problem and ensure that law aspirants in the country are not hindered from a smoother access to quality legal education any further.

Click to show 10 comments
at your own risk
(alt+shift+c)
By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.
refresh Filter out low-rated comments. Show all comments. Sort chronologically
1
Show?
Like +8 Object -21 Guest 17 May 18, 17:22  controversial
Please note that nowhere have the NSLIU/NALSAR/NUJS student unions asked for a retest.A retest CANNOT happen. The answer keys are out. The toppers are know and they are all good and deserving students. It is totally unfair to have a retest now. However, the Supreme Court can be approached for the following reliefs:

1) Refund to all candidates of the exam fee.
2) Refund by Sify and NUALS of the 23 crore amount, to be distributed among the examinees.
3) Resignation of NUALS VC
4) Direction for permanent CLAT body.
5) Inclusion of NLUD in CLAT.
6) Ban on NRI quota.
7) National Importance Status for NLUs.

Once again, NO RETEST. Jealous students with low CLAT scores will downvote this comment, but it is the most sensible measure.
Reply Report to LI
1.1
Like +14 Object -7 What the epic 17 May 18, 19:10  interesting  controversial
Why are you concerned about a re-test? There is precedent (in 2009 when there was a leak) for it and moreover, truly competent candidates have nothing to fear in a re-take of the exam. They'll do just as well. This constant clamour around a re-take looks fishy and raises doubts about those who did well in this exam.
Reply Report to LI
1.2
Like +14 Object -5 If your good students 17 May 18, 19:26  interesting  controversial
if your good students are really good then they won't mind taking it again. One more test and they will still come in top leads. Would not they?. Think again, you are scared or the ones affected?
Reply Report to LI
2
Show?
Like +2 Object -5 Expert advice 17 May 18, 19:59
What has happened has happened. Just forget it. I request the students not to carry over spilt milk. Instead you should focus on entry into Symbiosis and JGLS, which are both good colleges where some students have got job offers equal to NLUs. Also, these two colleges are better than low ranked NLUs. There also some many other good colleges like Nirma, Christ, UPES etc. NLU is not the end of the world. And if you are desperate you can give CLAT next year.
Reply Report to LI
3
Show?
Like +3 Object -2 Guest 17 May 18, 22:33
Sharing an excellent tweet. Hiding the name to save this person from being trolled. Very disappointing at biased coverage of LI and mob behaviour of LI readers.

Reply Report to LI
3.1
Show?
Like +3 Object -3 What the epic 18 May 18, 12:01
"Given exam", "some technical glitches were sort" - if this person scored well in the English section, res ipsa loquitor for why we need a re-take of the exam.
Reply Report to LI
4
Like +6 Object -2 EC 17 May 18, 23:16
I don't understand why you post such statements from student bodies?

Who cares?

Nobody does. Most of these chaps are gonna proof read documents for next two years.
Reply Report to LI
5
Show?
Like +2 Object -1 Student Representative 18 May 18, 01:34
"In the past, as in Archit’s case, justice has been delivered but not in time to be of any use to the aggrieved candidates. Given the gravity of the injustice experienced in CLAT 2018, we sincerely hope this will not be one such instance."

I think they're even seeking a re-test. Doesn't it seem like it?
Reply Report to LI
6
Show?
Like +3 Object -0 Guest 18 May 18, 01:38
Reconduct the exam of clat2018 because students who suffer by gliches,techinal fault,cheating they want jutice not those who didnt face any problem during exam. It is obvious those students who secure good marks they will raise objection in retest but what about those who suffer in exam. As results was in hand of sutudents.So,please gave justice to all in fair way.
Reply Report to LI
7
Show?
Like +1 Object -2 Moby 18 May 18, 15:51
The first sentence of the joint statement had me. Why is this exam being described as 'prestigious'? Of course, it is important, but not prestigious. Anyway, my solution, which I invite the Supreme Court judges to defer to:

a. No re-exam. There may well be several meritorious students who will do well from centres where there were no glitches.
b. As far as incorrect questions are concerned, everybody is on the same plane. All students should be given full marks for the incorrect questions.
c. Students who faced difficulties in some centres be refunded the money they have paid for taking the exam and the CLAT committee/Sify to not charge them fees if these students take the exam next year. All the students who have faced problems during this exam be given compensation in the tune of the average first year fees of all the colleges affiliated to CLAT. Sify will pay this amount. [Summation of the first year fees of all the colleges under CLAT/no. of colleges affiliated to CLAT]
d. These students who have suffered shall also not be charged any fees when the re-take the exam next year and Sify to pay for the coaching the students wish to take for the next year's exam. Sify to also pay Rs. 1 lakh for mental trauma these students have gone through.
e. I am sympathetic for the students who have been treated unfairly. However, due to the time constraint of the academic year starting soon, it will be logistically not be possible for a re-exam and the new academic year to start on time.
f. I urge the students who have suffered this year to write the exam again next year. One year in a career of 35-40 years (or even more) will not make a difference. Even if there is a difference it is De Mimimis. There are several examples of successful lawyers who have dropped a year.
g. CLAT should be of a permanent committee and should not be passed around to different colleges every year.
h. An audit of SIFY should be conducted to determine the reason for so many technical glitches across cities. But the result of the audit will have no bearing on the payments Sify has to make under this order.
i. Sify is directed to carry out these order in the next 30 days. No leave for an appeal, review, revision to be allowed.

Dismissed as ordered.
Thanks
Reply Report to LI


Latest comments