The Bombay high court, on Monday, reserved its judgment on a petition challenging the Maharashtra Law Common Entrance Test (CET) conducted on June 18.
A bench of Justices SC Dharmadhikari and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi is likely to announce whether the state was within its powers to conduct the exam and whether it will be declared void on Tuesday.
The bench was hearing a petition challenging the Maharashtra CET, introduced in the state for the first time this year.
The petitioner — an aspiring law student — had said the state did not have the power to conduct the exam for government and private colleges and that it was conducted in an “arbitrary” manner.
The petitioner’s counsel, advocate Pradanya Talekar said the exam was conducted under the Maharashtra Unaided Private Professional Educational Institutions (Regulations of Admission and Fees) Act of 2015.
This act, she said, “did not cover governmental, aided, and university-regulated institutions.”
She highlighted discrepancies in the organisation of the exam and the way it was conducted.
Talekar said the state did not give students adequate time to prepare.
She added that there was a lack of transparency in the syllabus-fixing process, and that of finalising the list of examiners.
She said that the syllabus was “notified on May 8, a month before the exam, and included a section each on general knowledge and high-level mathematics for which the preparation time was grossly insufficient.”
Talekar questioned why colleges under the CET were not consulted before the syllabus was framed.
The bar council of India had objected to the exam, saying that the state had failed to consult it.
The state defended its decision to conduct the exam.
Defending the state, former advocate general Shrihari Aney said the government’s federal structure allows the state to take executive and statutory decisions.
He said the test comes under the Universities Act and was extended to government and private institutes through an “executive order” of the government. Aney said the syllabus had been set after legal experts were consulted.
He said the state’s rules on the CET did not contradict the standards set by the Bar Council for inducting students into law colleges. He added that the state would consult the council in future.
The petition was filed in the high court on June 15, two days before the scheduled date for the exam.
A stay had been sought.However, the court refused the stay, saying that if it arrived at an adverse judgment, it would declare the exam void.