Published: 16th September 2020
Delhi High Court dismisses petition for CLAT candidates to attempt exam from home
The CLAT-2020 examination, to be held on August 22 earlier, will now be conducted on September 28. Justice Jayant Nath said it is clear that the pleas of the petitioner are misplaced
The possibility of home exams being compromised or manipulated by participants or coaching centres cannot be ruled out, the Delhi High Court has said while dismissing a plea that candidates be allowed to take Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2020 from their homes instead of exams centres due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The court said the problem of accessibility for 78,000 candidates to appropriate technology, internet connection, laptop or desktop computer would be doubtful and the plea for home exam cannot be accepted.
The CLAT-2020 examination, to be held on August 22 earlier, will now be conducted on September 28. Justice Jayant Nath said it is clear that the pleas of the petitioner are misplaced and cannot be a ground for postponing the exams or change of mode to conduct the exam. "I may also note that the petitioner (V Govinda Ramanan) has completed his LLB in 2016. It is now after a gap of 4 years that he seeks to apply for a post graduation in law. The petitioner has hence waited for four years to give the exam. There is no merit in the present petition. The same is dismissed," the judge said.
While the order was passed on September 10, it was made available on the court website on Wednesday.The petition was filed by the petitioner seeking an appropriate direction to quash the CLAT- 2020 examination notification issued by the Consortium of National Law Universities (NLU) in so far as it mandates the petitioner to physically go to the examination centre and give the exam. CLAT is a centralised exam for admissions to bachelors and masters courses in law in 22 NLUs in the country and is conducted by the consortium.
Under the CLAT 2020 notification, the exam would be held online at notified centres where computers would be set up for candidates to access the test. The petitioner, who is a law graduate and wishes to pursue his LLM, said he suffered from asthma and falls under the vulnerable category of individuals who are advised by the government not to go outside in the present time of COVID-19 pandemic. The consortium told the court that the decision to conduct CLAT-2020 at physical test centres was challenged by way of Public Interest Litigation before the Supreme Court which has dismissed it.
The high court said, "Keeping in view the aforesaid, it is clear that the aforesaid order (of Supreme Court) would remain binding on this court. Even otherwise, it is clear that the plea of respondent no. 1 (consortium) that a home-based exam may not be appropriate for approximately 78,000 candidates who are to take the exam. The possibility of the exams being compromised or manipulated by the participants/coaching centers cannot be ruled out."
"That apart, the problem of accessibility for 78,000 candidates to appropriate technology, internet connection, laptop or desktop computer itself would be doubtful. Hence this plea of the petitioner cannot be accepted, "the high court said.