CLAT Permanent Body: “What do you mean by institutional mechanism?”, SA Bobde J.
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CLAT Permanent Body: “What do you mean by institutional mechanism?”, SA Bobde J.

Murali Krishnan

The Supreme Court today asked the Central government to explain the status with respect to the inquiry into the 2018 Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) fiasco.

This development came about during the hearing of the petition by academic and Intellectual Property Law Expert, Shamnad Basheer seeking a permanent body for holding CLAT.

When the matter was taken up by the Bench of Justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao in the morning session, advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that ever since the CLAT exam started in 2008, there have been serious problems in conducting the same.

“From 2008 onwards, there have been problems in conducting CLAT. Each year, one NLU conducts the CLAT on a rotation basis. Because of grievous errors in 2018, the Supreme Court had to intervene”, he submitted.

The Bench then queried what the petitioner’s prayer was.

“Our prayer is that we need an institutional mechanism for conducting CLAT”, said Sankaranarayanan.

“What do you mean by institutional mechanism”, asked Justice Bobde.

It means a committee of experts who will constitute a permanent body, or a permanent secretariat exclusively for conducting CLAT”, replied Sankaranarayanan before proceeding to explain the deficiencies that have arisen in the CLAT exam over the years.

The Bench then noted that another Bench of the Supreme Court which had dealt with the issue of shortcomings of 2018 CLAT exam had passed an order on June 13 this year. In that order, the Court had directed the Union Ministry of Human Resources and Development to appoint a Committee to look into the 2018 CLAT fiasco and take “appropriate remedial measures including penal action” against the body entrusted with the conduct of the examination.

The Court today said that it will first see what the Centre has done on the same before proceeding further. It, therefore, sought the presence of an Additional Solicitor General (ASG) and listed the matter for hearing at 2 pm.

At 2 pm, ASG Maninder Singh entered appearance and informed the Court that ASG Atmaram Nadkarni is dealing with the matter and he will find out about the progress made with regard to the inquiry into 2018 CLAT.

The Court, therefore, adjourned the matter for October 3.

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