The Supreme Court today imposed costs of Rs. 25,000 on the Bar Council of India for failing to respond in the petition seeking a permanent body for conducting the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT). The costs were imposed by a Bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.
On the last date of hearing, the Central government, as well as the BCI failed to appear in court. Then, the BCI was granted three weeks to file its counter. And it now appears that the apex court has decided to make an example of the BCI for its inaction in the matter.
Shamnad Basheer had filed the PIL last year, pointing out the various flaws in the conduct of the examination over the years. He had arraigned all the 18 National Law Universities (NLUs) as Respondents in the case.
During the hearing, newly appointed Additional Solicitor General, Mr. Atamaram Nadkarni appearing for the Union of India prayed for and is granted four weeks’ time for filing counter affidavit.
Advocate Liz Mathew who appeared for Prof. Basheer told the Bench that the Bar Council of India has not filed counter affidavit despite last opportunity granted for the purpose. Mr. A.K. Prasad counsel appearing on behalf of BCI prayed for four weeks’ further time for filing counter affidavit. The Bench has granted time subject to payment of Rs.25,000/- (rupees twenty five thousand) to be deposited as costs in the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Welfare Trust.
Sources indicate that the regulatory body is planning to launch an All India Entrance Examination for law aspirants to secure admissions to the all Law Colleges in the country, including the National Law Schools.
The Court had issued notices to the Centre, Bar Council of India and Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law Patiala in September last year, on the PIL seeking immediate intervention of the Court against the opaque and inefficient implementation of CLAT that is held every year for the purpose of admissions to graduate and Post-graduate programs in the discipline of law offered at the premier National Law Universities (NLUs) in India
Prof. Basheer has also alleged that “the paper setters have also been accused of extensive plagiarism and due to such extensive plagiarism, the CLAT paper setters may even be guilty of copyright infringement.”
Apart from the issue of seriously defective Question Papers/Answers Keys, Mr. Basheer further argues that CLAT exams suffer from “severe discrepancies in terms of allocation of seats, release of merit lists, mal-administration and inefficient management and serious policy inconsistencies.”
By – Dhriti Sharma