Centre files affidavit in Shamnad Basheer petition, washes its hands clean of CLAT

Aditya AK October 27 2016

The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has made it clear that it does not want anything to do with the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT).

In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court yesterday, the MHRD - impleaded as the first respondent in the writ petition filed by Shamnad Basheer – stated that it was “not concerned with the CLAT”.

Under Secretary Rajendra Prasad Tewari, in a six-page affidavit, goes into the history of CLAT and the various litigation associated with the exam, only to conclude with the Centre’s intention of staying away from the matter. It states,

“…MHRD was never involved in the aforesaid CLAT examination…CLAT is a non-statutory body brought into existence by 17 NLUs through an instrument of MoU…is an internal matter of the university which is autonomous to decide any such mechanism with the approval of its competent councils…”

What this means is that Basheer’s petition, which seeks the setting up of a permanent body to conduct CLAT, now hinges upon the Bar Council of India and the law schools that come under CLAT.

During an earlier hearing in July this year, the apex court had given the Centre and the BCI three weeks’ time to file counters against the petition filed in August 2015, after the Centre's lawyers failed to turn up in court.

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.

He had the sought appointment of an expert committee consisting of key stakeholders from the legal ecosystem to review the working of the CLAT and suggest institutional reforms. He had also prayed for constituting an independent professional permanent body tasked with conducting CLAT on an annual basis.

Read the affidavit:

union-response-not-interested-in-clat