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Shamnad Basheer with KK Venugopal files monster writ vs CLAT in SC, wants permanent body, transparency [READ PETITION]

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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