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Membership of CLAT 2015 ‘expert panel’ is top-secret, immune to RTI, claims RMLNLU

RTI response: The computer says no
RTI response: The computer says no

The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2015 expert panel, which was formed twice to examine alleged errors in the CLAT 2015 question papers, was composed of secret members. CLAT 2015 convenor RMLNLU Lucknow rejected a right to information (RTI) request for the names of the members of the panel which had dismissed allegations that one-fifth of the CLAT 2015 LLB paper was error-ridden.

RMLNLU, through its joint registrar Dr JD Gangwar, replied on 13 July to a 29 June RTI by Alok Ratnoo, refusing to disclose the names of the expert panel members and also stating that “grievances received [on CLAT’s email ID ] within a specific time were looked in” by the panel.

RMLNLU had formed the expert panel twice. It formed the panel once two days after CLAT declared results for the first time and candidates and CLAT experts alleged up to 40 errors in the LLB paper and 16 errors in the LLM paper. The first panel reported that there were six errors in the LLM paper and only two errors in the LLB paper.

Several writs were filed by candidates dissatisfied with this report and pursuant to the Bombay high court’s order in a writ before it, RMLNLU formed the expert panel for the second time. But the convenor did not notify about the formation of this expert panel on CLAT’s website, and before the timeline given in the Bombay high court’s order could lapse RMLNLU announced on the CLAT’s website that the CLAT admission process for 2015 stood closed.

RMLNLU then reported to the Punjab & Haryana high court in a sealed cover that the second expert panel had found that none of the dozens of alleged errors in the CLAT 2015 papers were in fact errors. The P&H HC judge looking at the sealed cover objected to this report observing that even he could make out at least one error in the LLB question paper.

RMNLU Lucknow did not even notify the result of the second expert panel’s examination on the CLAT’s website.

Gangwar had told Legally India in a phone interview after the first expert panel was formed that he couldn’t reveal the names of the panel members to protect them from being contacted individually by stakeholders, about various errors.

In the same interview he had claimed that RMLNLU was committed to the cause of transparency during CLAT 2015, but later rejected an RTI asking for a copy of the three MoUs signed between CLAT NLUs since 2007. An older RTI later revealed that the earliest of the three MoUs had already been publicly disclosed three years ago by then CLAT convenor HNLU Raipur.

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