Thousands Of Students’ Futures At Risk; Petition Of Aggrieved CLAT Aspirants Heard By Supreme Court
Indian students endure a lot of pressure. For one seat, there are hundreds and thousands of aspirants. A difference of few marks can have a major impact on the final rank. If after sleepless nights, and genuine hard work, a student is held back in life because of mismanagement and technical failures, then the system has failed that student. About 59,000 students sat for CLAT(Common Law Admission Test) on May 13, 2018. Reports of delays, technical glitches and overall mismanagement came flooding in. Students across the country filed petitions requesting a re-exam in the Calcutta High Court, Delhi High Court, Punjab & Haryana High Court, both Benches of the Rajasthan High Court, the Madhya Pradesh High Court, the Karnataka High Court, and even the Supreme Court.
Today, a Supreme Court bench told the students to apply online to a two-member panel set up by the exam conducting body, the National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), till 7 pm on May 27. NUALS told the SC that results of CLAT 2018 would be declared on May 31. The SC directed NUALS to report the status of complaints and grievances on May 30, before declaring the result, the next day. An email id will be notified today, where the students can send their grievances.
Sleepless Nights Even After Exams
The Logical Indian spoke to Vennela Krishna, founder of online education portal Law School 101, “After the exam, many of my students approached me regarding absolute mismanagement. To understand the situation, I conducted a little survey by sending out Google survey forms. I expected to receive 30-40 responses, but, within just 24 hours, I have received more than 1,000 responses. The students are completely disheartened, believing their dreams of a career in law are over. Coaching for these examinations cost anywhere between one-two lakhs. Some of these students have taken a drop of two years just for this exam and I can’t explain you the dismal state of mind these students are at right now.”
Although the CLAT organisers have maintained that they are “not in adversarial position to any student,” they might have underplayed the number of candidates facing difficulties, and the extent of the difficulties faced.
On May 23, Justice Protik Prakash Banerjee of the Calcutta High Court passed an interim order directing CLAT organisers (National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi) not to publish the rank list till May 25, today.
Yesterday, May 24, the Supreme Court bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha heard the petition. As reported by Bar and Bench, during the proceedings, the counsel representing the exam conducting body said, “petition is filed by just seven candidates.”
The Supreme Court Bench responded, as reported by Live Law, “Forget these 7 petitioners, how do you resolve the problems pertaining to all the other cases…you have simply rejected their Representations…that is not enough…these are factual matters where facts have to be analysed and a report may be given…”
The Hon’ble SC asked NUALS to suggest ways to resolve these complaints and form a grievance redressal body if possible. The apex court further said that the various High Courts should not proceed with similar petitions, till the SC bench meets again on May 25 and decides on whether to transfer all such cases to itself or not.
The Logical Indian Take
Imagine paying Rs 4000 as registration fee for an exam which is the doorway to 19 National Law Universities and at least 43 other education institutes, and then facing so many glitches and issues. The students spread across 200 online exam centres, reportedly, faced delays, login issues, faulty biometric verification, blank screens, navigating issues while answering questions, crashing computer systems and server shutdown. Students have come out in protest against NUALS and the private firm M/s Sify Technologies Ltd. Sify has also been in news related to the SSC-CGL exam issue.
Law aspirant Anurag from Bangalore said to The Logical Indian, “Every time there was a problem and we approached our invigilators, they were clueless. They would take a lot of time resolving the issues. After facing problem repeatedly, I was told to wait till one of the candidates completes the exam so that I can take the test on that system. I waited till 5:30 pm, till one of the candidates finished the exam. Not only me, many others faced the same issue. We had to stay back at the exam centres till 7:30-8:00 pm.”
To underplay such an important issue, after avoidable errors and omissions, doesn’t bode well for the students and parents who sacrifice so much for the sake of these exams.