NEW DELHI: In a big relief to 4,690 aspiring law students who faced technical glitches during the online Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS) to award them compensatory marks for the loss of valuable time and prepare a revised merit list.
A vacation bench of Justices UU Lalit and Deepak Gupta approved the formula devised by grievance redressal committee headed by a retired judge of the Kerala high court Justice MR Hariharan Nair and directed the NUALS Kochi to prepare a revised merit list of students for admission in 19 law colleges. The bench, however, made it clear that the admission of students which had been finalised on the basis of ongoing first round of counselling would not be disturbed, but ruled that further admission would be done on the basis of 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. 4,690 candidates had raised grievances that they faced problem during the exam due to technical glitches and were not given effective two hours to attempt the 200 objective questions. The problems included power cuts, failure of login system, slow biometric verification, resulting in substantial loss of time for the candidates. Immediately after the test, the aggrieved students approached various high courts and the Supreme Court seeking re-examination.
As per the normalisation formula devised by the committee, a student would be given compensatory marks 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 court rejected the plea of aggrieved students to quash the exam and direct fresh test.
“The normalization formula proceeds on the basis of answering efficiency or capacity of a candidate to answer questions in given time and then applies his rate of success as a parameter. Normally, a candidate would first answer those questions, whose answers he is well aware of and leave out rest to be answered in the end. His success rate in the former part would certainly be greater, as compared to the latter. Since he would be given benefit at the same success rate, there would be no prejudice,” the court said.
“It is true that repeated interruptions would cause mental stress and upset him. But that aspect as a factor is difficult to be translated in a quantifiable parameter. Given the circumstances, the normalization formula appears to be the correct and appropriate methodology. We, therefore, accept the formula so suggested and reject the contention of outright cancellation of the entire test,” the bench said..
Expressing its anxiety on the manner in which CLAT 2018 was conducted, the court directed the Centre to appoint a committee to conduct inquiry and take action against Sify Technologies, a private company which was given the contract to conduct the exam. It asked the committee to file a detailed report within three months before it to prevent recurrence of technical glitches in coming years.
“The body which was given the task of conducting the examination was duty bound to ensure facilities of uninterrupted UPS and generator facility. The record indicates complete inadequacy on that point. We therefore direct Union of India to appoint a committee to look into the matter and take appropriate remedial measures including penal action, if any, against the body which was entrusted with the task,” it said.
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