The Supreme Court today cleared the decks for declaration of results of the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2018 tomorrow for admissions in 19 prestigious national law colleges across the country. A vacation bench of Justices L N Rao and M M Shantanagoudar did not allow the fervent plea of a few aspirants that the declaration of the results, scheduled tomorrow, be stayed as there were glitches during the CLAT held on May 13, causing loss of crucial time, thus violating their fundamental right to equality.
The top court, meanwhile, asked the Grievance Redressal Committee (GRC), set up by National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), Kochi, which has conducted the CLAT this year, to submit its report on June 6 after taking note of complaints of aspirants who have alleged technical and other glitches during the May 13 test.
NUALS, which conducted CLAT with the aid of private firm M/s Sify Technologies Ltd for admissions in undergraduate and postgraduate law programmes at premier law schools, has constituted a two-member panel to look into the complaints following the apex court's direction.
Former Kerala High Court judge Justice MR Hariharan Nair and Dr Santhosh Kumar G, Head of the Computer Science Department of Cochin University, are part of the panel. Senior advocate Salman Khurshid and lawyer Zoheb Hossain appeared for some CLAT aspirants and apprised the court about the problems faced by them during the test which put them at a "disadvantageous" position leading to denial of fundamental rights.
"There have been judgments in which the Supreme Court has held that even one undeserving candidate should not get in," Hossain said, adding that 200 questions were to be answered within 120 minutes and the technical glitches caused the loss of crucial few minutes, leaving the aspirants high and dry.
Senior advocate V Giri, appearing for NUALS, said staying of the results was not a solution as the panel would examine the grievances of the aspirants and may come out with a "normalisation methdology" to ensure that those, who were at disadvantageous position due to loss of time on account of the glitches, are compensated in terms of marks.
"The candidates, who are within the striking distance and had suffered due to glitches, can be considered after a normalisation methodology is devised and approved by the apex court," Giri said. The court asked the NUALS to go ahead with the scheduled declaration of results and sought a report from the committee on June 6. Around 54,000 candidates had undertaken the CLAT 2018 for admissions in 19 national law colleges in the country.
Soon after the exam, several pleas were filed in six different high courts across the country and also in the apex court seeking quashing of the CLAT alleging inconsistencies and technical glitches during the May 13 online test. The high courts of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Bombay, Punjab and Haryana and Rajasthan, both the Jaipur and Jodhpur benches, were hearing the pleas challenging the CLAT 2018 examination and notices have been issued in some of these matters.
The apex court had on May 25 said that the candidates who had appeared in the CLAT 2018 and complained of glitches, could make online representations to the two-member grievance redressal committee. The bench had said the panel would examine the complaints and representations received from the students till 7 PM of May 27 and take appropriate decision on a case-to-case basis after "due analysis".
It had directed that the committee to first scrutinize around 250 complaints which have already been received and take appropriate decision by May 29. Then in the second phase, it would deal with the new representations which are received online.
The bench had made it clear that the grievances of the students, who had approached the high courts and the apex court, would also be dealt with by the committee.
The pleas filed in the apex court alleged that the candidates faced several technical glitches during on-line test, besides poor infrastructure at examination centres and lack of proper guidance from staffers. They also sought an interim stay on the publication of final result till the decision on their plea.