SC refuses to cancel CLAT 2020 or stay counselling process

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Friday refused to either cancel the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT)-2020 or stay the counselling process and asked five candidates, who were seeking quashing of the exam alleging technical glitches, to give their grievances within three days to the redressal committee.
CLAT is a centralised national level entrance test for admissions to 23 National Law Universities (NLUs) in India and the test was held on September 28. The result of CLAT was declared on October 3.
A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and M R Shah was informed by senior lawyer P S Narasimha, appearing for consortium of NLUs, that there is a grievance redressal committee headed by a former Chief Justice of India which can consider the issues of the petitioners.
“In the facts of the present case, we are of the view that ends of justice be served in giving liberty to the petitioners to submit a
representation to the grievance redressal committee with regard to their grievance within three days from today. We order accordingly. We have no doubt that the petitioners’ representation be considered by the committee at an early date,” the bench said in its order.
“We cannot stop the counselling,” the bench orally told senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for the petitioners who had appeared in the CLAT 2020.
Sankaranarayanan told the bench that there were technical glitches in the exam which was conducted online and certain questions and key answers were not correct.
He said options given by the petitioners were not correctly recorded in the software and around 40,000 objections with regard to various aspects of the CLAT has been received.
There is no response from the consortium of NLUs on around 19,000 objections, Sankaranarayanan said, adding that there has been a software defect which led to a situation which has never happened before.
“There are many mistakes in the question papers and answer key. For the first time, only 3 per cent students have crossed the 50 per cent marks of total 150 marks,” he said.
“This is a difficult time,” the bench observed.
Narasimha opposed the plea and said there cannot be unending counselling for admission during the pandemic.
He said that a decision has been taken in which three answers were modified and three questions were deleted.
He said former CJI S Rajendra Babu is the head of the ombudsman and he will be looking into the serious complaints.
Narasimha, while referring to certain questions, said unnecessary complaints have been raised.
“No payment is required to be made for raising objections. 146th and 150th question raised a lot of objections and thus those questions were dropped as per expert committee recommendation,” he said.
He said after declaration of the result, counselling has already started and a large number of candidates have completed their counselling.
On September 21, the apex court had quashed the NLSIU Bengaluru’s notification for conducting separate entrance exam, the National Law Aptitude Test (NLAT) held on September 12, for admission to its five-year law course and had directed it to admit students on the basis of CLAT 2020 results.
The top court had asked the consortium of NLUs to conduct CLAT-2020 on September 28 while “taking all precautions and care for health of the students after following the standard operating procedures of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Human Resource Development”.

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