Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news

CLAT 2016 on May 8, online application forms available from Jan 1

Aditya AK

The ninth edition of the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) will be held across the country on May 8, 2016. The exam will be conducted by Rajiv Gandhi National Law University, Patiala (RGNUL).

As per the notification, online application forms will be available from January 1, and the last date of submission of the applications is March 31. The application fee is Rs. 3500 for SC/ST candidates and Rs. 4000 for other candidates.

CLAT is the gateway to the 17 National Law Universities across India, the latest being Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai. The number of students writing CLAT has grown exponentially over the years, with around 45,200 undergraduate and post-graduate candidates appearing for last year’s exam.

One hopes that this year’s exam will be a far cry from the debacle that was the 2015 edition, hosted by Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Lucknow (RMLNLU). The conduct of that exam was controversial to say the least, right from the notification to the allotment of seats.

The troubles of last year’s CLAT began with the decision to fix an upper age limit for candidates; a decision that was ultimately annulled by the Allahabad High Court. The Supreme Court would later uphold the High Court’s decision and dismiss RMLNLU’s appeal. This year’s notification clearly states that there is no prescribed age limit.

Then came the errors in the question paper and in the answer key, which prompted a slew a litigation in courts across the country. Consequently, not one, but two Expert Committees were set up to examine the errors. Astonishingly, both Committees denied all but two errors in the paper, when as many as 15 were alleged. There was also confusion regarding the allotment of seats to students.

Then, in August, Shamnad Basheer filed a petition in the Supreme Court demanding the constitution of a permanent body to oversee the conduct of the exam. The petition is slated to come up for hearing again sometime in January. What the apex court mandates in this matter might significantly influence how the 2016 exam is held.

Read the official CLAT notification below.