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Maharashtra’s first common entrance test for law has found itself in choppy waters. Earlier this week, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court issued notice in a writ petition challenging the exam.
The petition, filed by student Kedar Varad, has challenged this year’s exam on the ground that the State Common Entrance Test Cell, responsible for conducting the exam, has not yet revealed the syllabus of the Law CET. The exam is scheduled to take place on June 18 and 19.
Back in December 2015, the state government released a notification announcing a common law entrance test for 5-year and 3-year law courses in universities across Maharashtra. In the following months, two more notifications would be released, none of which would give prospective students any inkling as regards the syllabus of the exam.
The petitioner states that candidates have had to rely on unofficial information on a private website, law.careers360.com, which published a vague outline of the syllabus. All this while, the Higher and Technical Education Department of the government made no attempt to clarify things.
In fact, even the universities which come under the law CET were in the dark. This was revealed when the petitioner contacted officials at Government Law College, Mumbai and ILS, Pune. Additionally, the colleges informed the petitioner that none of their academics had been invited to be a part of the team setting papers or determining the pattern of the exam.
In the petition, it is stated that the non-publication of the syllabus and/or paper pattern of the admission to law courses is in violation of section 65 of the Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994. The provision states,
“…where model rules have been framed by the State Government in the interest of students throughout the State, the university shall adopt the same and such rules shall be published in the university gazette or the Official Gazette as the case may be, at least six months before the start of any academic session which shall begin not later than first August every year.”
The same stance, the petition states, was reiterated in a full bench decision of the Bombay High Court in Govinddas M. Shroff v. State of Maharashtra.
The petitioner has prayed that the non-publication of syllabus and paper pattern be held unconstitutional, and that the first edition of the Maharashtra Law CET be scrapped. He has also prayed that admission to the courses be done on the basis of Class 12 marks, until the writ petition is dismissed.
On Monday, the vacation bench of Justice RV Ghuge issued notice to the Higher Education Department, the State CET Cell, and the Legal Education Committee of the Bar Council of India.
The petitioner was represented by advocate Satish Talekar, who also argued in court that the rules of private unaided colleges were made applicable to aided and government law colleges for the purpose of conduct of CET, which is per-se illegal. Assistant Government Pleader SY Mahajan appeared for the respondents.
The matter will now be head on June 7, a little more than a week before the scheduled date of the exams.
Read the petition:
Read the order: