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One week before it is scheduled to take place, this year’s edition of the All India Bar Examination (AIBE XI) appears to have hit a snag.
A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Bombay High Court praying that the exam be stayed and rescheduled for a later date.
The primary ground for the challenge is the Bar Council of India’s decision to debar candidates for failing to upload the requisite documents on time, sans sufficient notice. The petition was filed by candidates Mukesh Gupta and Pooja Pandey, through MKS Legal Associates.
The notification for this year’s exam came out on the AIBE website on July 27 this year. The application form was sold from September 1 to October 31, after which online and offline registration was closed on November 13. It was also announced that admit cards for the exam would be sent out on November 18; this date was later pushed to November 20.
On November 18, the BCI published a list of around 2500 candidates whose documentation was deemed incomplete. The notification, titled ‘Last Call for Uploading Corrected Documents’ urged the aforementioned candidates to upload their corrected documents by 12 noon on the following day, failing which they would not receive admit cards for AIBE XI.
It is this notification that has been challenged by the petitioners, who claim that the candidates have not been given sufficient notice. The petition states,
“Very surprisingly on 18/11/2017 without any prior notification or pre-scheduled program the respondent issued the list of candidate whose documents were correctly not uploaded or received by the respondents and given a time to upload the documents till 12.00 noon of 19/11/2017.
Some of the candidates received the email from the Respondent No. 1 at a very last moment in the evening near about 7 O’clock and most of the candidates had not seen the email or checked the website of Respondent No. 1 which is particularly former for AIBE exam as on a very short notice the Respondent No. 1 debarred all such candidates including the petitioners from giving the exam for which the petitioners including other candidates waited for a period of one year.”
The petition also states that debarred candidates were not given sufficient time to upload the correct documents, given the fact that many of them come from rural areas, where problems related to electricity and other facilities are rife.
Further, the petitioners have averred that the BCI had sent them a mail on November 18, stating that they had not uploaded the correct documents despite several emails, calls and messages. The petitioners, however, claim that they received no such warnings, in any form, before November 18. In fact, on receipt of the email, the petitioners had made several attempts to contact the examination authorities, to no avail.
Therefore, the petitioners have prayed for a direction from the Court to set aside the notification dated November 18, and to direct the respondent to extend the last date for uploading the corrected documents. Moreover, it has been prayed that the AIBE XI exam, slated to be held on December 3, be stayed or rescheduled to another date.
In the alternative, it has been prayed that the Court direct that the application fee of Rs. 3560 be refunded to the candidates who have been debarred.
The matter has been listed tomorrow before the Bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice MS Sonak.
Read the petition: