In a bid to avoid a repeat of last year’s chaos around admissions, principals of law colleges have proposed setting up facilitation centres to help the students taking the Common Entrance Test (CET) for law courses.
At a meeting on Monday, principals and representatives from government-aided law colleges asked for a simplified admission process. In addition to facilitation centres, the principals also suggested putting in place a standard operating procedure (SOP) for admissions, so that the aspirants wouldn’t have to run around making compliances at the eleventh hour.
Last year, the state’s first ever attempt to centralise law admissions by introducing common entrance tests (CETs) for three year and five year LLB courses faced many roadblocks, as the entire process stretched for almost half a year. The process itself was marred by multiple litigations, persistent delays and enormous confusion, with many aspirants in the city unable to secure admission despite availability of seats.
This year, the CETs for five-year and three-year LLB courses are likely to be held on May 20 and 21, respectively, which is a month before as compared to last year’s schedule. Although the State CET Cell had scheduled the tests towards the April-end, but had to shift them for the third party service provider’s convenience, said an official from the Cell.
The facilitation centres proposed by the principals help students with filling the forms and other formalities. “The director of higher education will decide which colleges will serve as the facilitation centres,” said the official from CET Cell.
According to a source, the principals who attended the meeting on Monday expressed concerns over the large number of vacant seats in law colleges. They suggested that many students were put off by the persistent changes in the admission procedure and were unable to secure admission, he said. “There was much misunderstanding. Many students who appeared for the CET didn’t even register for the Centralised Admission Procedure (CAP),” said the source.
Data from the state CET cell shows that over 6,000 out of 10,000 seats available for five-year LLB course and 5,000 out of 15,000 seats available for the three-year course remained vacant even after six rounds of admissions.
The principals insisted that the admission process should be simplified and communicated to the students early, said the source. “The students had little knowledge as to which documents are required at the time of admission. The principals suggested that the government should come up with an SOP for admission and post it online,” he said.
What went wrong last year?
Notification of CET
A student had moved the Bombay high court seeking the cancellation of the test stating that the syllabus of any test has to be declared at least six months before the exam. Though the court allowed test, it asked the state to include Bar Council of India (BCI) members while framing the syllabus
Students were confused by the application form, which had a list of college divisions to choose from instead of a list of colleges. As a result, many of them, reportedly, marked only a single division from a college of choice, instead of marking all the divisions of the college, and lost seats in the process
The aspirants also bore the brunt of the uncertainty over the BCI approvals to many coveted law colleges. The apex body had withheld the approvals to 64 out of 128 colleges across the state, util they agreed to meet its criteria
Many aspirants were turned away by colleges after BCI imposed an age limit for admissions. The maximum age for seeking admission for a five-year LLB course is 20 years (22 years for reserved category) and the maximum age for admission for a three-year LLB programme (offered after graduation) is 30 years (35 years for reserved category students). The rule has been a subject of litigation, with various petitions opposing it being filed in courts across the country
Allotment of seats
The CET cell decided to change the first and the fourth list of college allotments after many discrepancies were reported in it. Students alleged that the state didn’t fill minority and ladies’ quota seats properly
Nationality and caste validity certificates
Many aspirants were unaware of the requirement of nationality and caste validity certificates at the time of seeking admissions. The students were forced to furnish the documents at the eleventh hour.