CLAT 2018: Supreme Court refuses to interfere with first round of counselling
The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), a Kochi-based agency that conducted this year’s Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), to reorder its merit list after giving compensation marks to students who faced technical glitches while writing the paper this year.
A bench of justices UU Lalit and Deepak Gupta refused to interfere with the first round of counselling, which started for the successful CLAT aspirants for their admission to 19 law colleges, but asked for the process of adding compensation marks to their score June 15.
It also made adverse remarks against NUALS for not providing back-up facilities at the exam centres to avoid the glitches. It directed the Union Ministry of Human Resources to appoint a Committee to look into the matter and take “appropriate remedial measures including penal action” against the body entrusted with the conduct of the examination.
The bench told NUALS that it must consider suggestions by the two-member grievance panel, which reviewed the complaints by students and advised a solution to their problem. After implementing the formula suggested by the panel, the court said, NUALS must come up with a revised list on June 16 and include the qualified students in the second round of counselling.
“Any outright cancellation would visit tremendous inconvenience and hardship upon rest of the candidates. If the interest of those candidates who suffered loss of time could otherwise be compensated, there is no reason that the entire admission test be cancelled or annulled,” the judges said, ruling out cancellation of the test.
The normalisation formula, suggested by the panel, could be applied to all 4690 candidates who lost out on time during the exam, the court said. Around 54,450 candidates sat for the CLAT exam at 258 centres. Admissions to around 2342 seats in law universities happen on the basis ranking secured by a student.
The order came after NUALS advocate, senior counsel VV Giri demonstrated how the compensation formula was applied to four students, also petitioners before court. The chart, given to judges, reflected that the number of questions attempted and the number of questions answered correctly by the students. Based on these numbers it was calculated additional number of questions the candidate would have answered if they did not lost out on time. The final marks will then be revised, based on the answering efficiency with respect to the questions attempted.
SC also entrusted the government-appointed committee with the task to ensure no such glitches are repeated in future. A report has been also sought on how to improve the system of conducting CLAT as the court observed the process needs to be revisited. On June 11, SC had refused a re-test of CLAT.