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Justices Thakur and Gowda put monster Basheer-Venugopal CLAT writ on express schedule, RGNUL to reply

The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2016 convenor RGNUL Patiala has been called upon by the Supreme Court to provide answers in Prof Shamnad Basheer’s petition challenging the conduct of the CLAT.

Former NUJS Kolkata professor and founder of NGO Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) Basheer had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the CLAT for its poor and opaque conduct, and had prayed for a permanent CLAT conducting body to replace the present system of the national law universities (NLUs) convening the exam each year by rotation.

The Supreme Court’s bench of justices TS Thakur and Gopal Gowda today admitted the PIL for further hearing.

Supreme Court advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan and advocate Liz Mathew had briefed senior advocate KK Venugopal to appear pro bono for Basheer.

Sankaranarayanan told Legally India that Venugopal argued before the bench that there were problems with the way the CLAT was running itself, there were errors in the way it was managed and it was lacking in overall competence. Additionally, he argued that the fees for registering for the exam were comparatively on the higher side.

Sankaranarayanan said that keeping these arguments in mind and the fact that the date to hold CLAT 2016 - May 2016 - was near, to avoid protracting the litigation the bench decided against issuing notice to all 17 NLUs which are part of the CLAT.

Justices Thakur and Gowda issued notice in the PIL to only RGNUL, the Bar Council of India (BCI) and the union of India.

The next date of hearing in the case, to be computer generated, will likely lie in October, said Sanakaranarayanan.

The PIL, which was first set to come up for miscellaneous hearing on Monday, was heard today as Chief Justice of India (CJI) HL Dattu had recused himself from hearing the case since he is the chancellor of NLSIU Bangalore and NUJS Kolkata and has passed administrative orders related to the CLAT.

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