SC: Glitch-Hit CLAT Students To Be Given Compensatory Marks

Published on 14 Jun 2018 by Shivi

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court directed the NUALS to award compensatory marks for the loss of valuable time of 4,690 aspiring law students who faced technical glitches during the online Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) and prepare a revised merit list.

The formula was approved by a vacation bench of Justice U.U. Lalit and Justice Deepak Gupta devised by the grievance redressal committee headed by a retired judge of the Kerala High Court Justice M.R. Hariharan Nair, directing the NUALS Kochi to prepare a revised merit list of students for admission in 19 law colleges. The bench also made it clear that the admission of students which had been finalised on the basis of an ongoing first round of counselling would not be disturbed, rather the further admission would be done on the basis of the revised list.

CLAT 2018 was conducted on May 13 by NUALS, Kochi with as many as 54,464 candidates taking the examination at 250 centres among which, at least 4,690 candidates had raised grievances that they faced problems during the exam due to power cuts, failure of login system, slow biometric verification and were not given effective two hours to attempt the 200 objective questions. This led to substantial loss of time for the candidates, due to which the students immediately approached various high courts and the Supreme Court seeking re-examination.

A student would be given compensatory marks as per the normalisation formula devised by the committee, for the loss of time on the basis of his performance in the entrance examination by taking into account number of correct and incorrect answers given by him. The plea of aggrieved students to quash the exam and direct fresh test was rejected by the Court.

The court stated that the formula proceeds on the basis of answering efficiency or capacity of a candidate to answer questions on time and then applies his rate of success as a parameter. A candidate would first answer those questions well which he is well aware of and leave out rest to be answered in the end. In the former part, his success rate would certainly be greater than latter. There would be no prejudice as he would be given the benefit at the same success rate.

According to the bench, it is true that repeated interruptions would cause mental stress and upset him but the aspect as a factor is difficult to be translated in a quantifiable parameter. Here the normalization formula appears to be the correct and appropriate methodology for him. Therefore, the bench accepted the formula suggested and rejected the contention of outright cancellation of the entire test.

The Court, expressing its anxiety on the manner in which CLAT 2018 was conducted, directed the Centre to appoint a committee to conduct an inquiry and take action against a private company known as Sify Technologies, which was given the contract to conduct the exam. Within 3 months, it asked the committee to file a detailed report before it to prevent recurrence of technical glitches in coming years.

It also said that the duty to ensure facilities of uninterrupted UPS and generator facility was given to a body who was responsible for conducting the examination and the record indicates complete inadequacy on that point. Therefore the bench directed Union of India to appoint a committee to look into the matter and take appropriate remedial measures including penal action, against the body which was entrusted with the task, if any.

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