In 2018, just as the CLAT started at 3 PM, there was commotion all around at many centres across the country when students struggled with different issues mostly technical, including non-visibility of questions, or questions appearing in encrypted format. While the issues were endless, the incident led to CLAT forming a consortium (a permanent body) and the paper being moved to pen-paper format in 2019. However, given the current situation we are in, after must delays, CLAT 2020 was finally conducted in online format and voila, we are back again with technology playing havoc with the students. Technology, which is meant to make life easier, may have played the spoilsport in CLAT 2020.
CLAT 2020 was held on 28 September 2020 and the provisional keys were released the very same day to the general public to raise objections, if any. A standard procedure in most exams, this has a history with CLAT. While it was expected that with an expert committee in place and having learnt its lesson by now, CLAT paper should be error free. However, we have come across more than 20 errors in the key. On top of that, the provisional scores released to the candidates have given them the shock of their life. Many students have reported a difference of scores as big as 30+, from their expectations (what they marked in the paper and expected the scores to be).
While people may have attributed this to the interface, logic or instructions given, it is important to look at other aspects. CLAT 2020 gave specific timings to students to report to the exam centres and entry made accordingly. Those allotted the 1:45 pm slot may hardly have got time to settle and read all the instructions. Many students also reported that invigilators simply asked them to keep clicking next without even allowing them to read the instructions carefully.
While a committee has been formed, which will submit its review by 03 October, we sincerely hope that students’ grievances are taken into consideration with all seriousness and not like 2018. CLAT 2020 has already been into controversy, with changes in instructions in the sample papers, its core member NLSIU moving ahead to conduct its own exam (which was subsequently quashed by SC), giving students sleepless nights. It’s time CLAT looks at the way exam must be conducted and learnt its lesson, if not from others, AILET at least.
Sometimes being different and adventurism may have its own path to curve and not a happy situation every time. While CLAT 2020 may have fared better in terms of issues as compared to previous years, it’s important they investigate the complaints seriously while not forgetting the fact that careers of our young leaders are at stake. One should look at this as an opportunity to restore faith in the legal education system as well, follow what you preach.