SC to hear pleas to quash CLAT exam on Thursday

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New Delhi, May 23 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will hear on May 24 pleas filed by candidates who appeared for Common Law Admission Test 2018 (CLAT) and are seeking direction to quash the examination and to hold it afresh.

A bench of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Navin Sinha sought to know if any high court in the country has passed any order on similar pleas filed before them. The bench also asked whether authorities have filed their response before any high court on the pleas.

It asked the petitioners’ counsel to provide the copy of petitions to the National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), Central government and the Core Committee of CLAT.

Six CLAT candidates have moved the apex court seeking directions to quash the exam and conduct it afresh, as the examinees faced many technical problems during the online test, besides poor infrastructure at examination centres and lack of proper guidance from the staff.

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They have also prayed for stay on publication of final result-cum-merit list till the disposal of petitions.

CLAT 2018 was conducted by NUALS on May 13 with the aid and assistance of a private company, M/s Sify Technologies Ltd.

The manner in which the examination was held has jeopardized the future of thousands of students who took the examination, the pleas said.

They have submitted that students across various states faced serious problems at almost 200 online examination centres and said prerequisites of proper electronic and online infrastructure were not made available while conducting the exam.

The pleas said problems during the examination included power cuts, failure of log-in system, slow biometric verification, blank screens, substantial loss of time in system log-ins, frequent resetting of computer systems, hanging of computer systems, server shutdown and difficulties in moving from one question to another.

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These difficulties lead to significant loss of time (averaging about 5-30 minutes from student to student), which spoiled the very essence of an online competitive exam of 120 minutes wherein a student is expected to answer 200 questions, the petitions stated.

The ranking of a student can slip by a thousand or more ranks by a simple difference of one or two incorrect answers/ un-attempted questions, which is gross violation of fundamental rights of students under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India, said the pleas.

“For instance, at an examination centre at Hissar in Haryana, some students were seen attempting the examination till 7.00 p.m, whereas the exam was expected to conclude at 5.00 p.m itself. In essence, it is submitted that petitioners and thousands of other similarly placed students were compelled to take the examination under grossly unfair condition seriously jeopardizing their result,” the petitions submitted.

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–IANS

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