It was in 2016, while sending applications for LLM entrance tests at various National Law Schools, that I felt the pinch of the CLAT entrance exam fee. The CLAT fee—Rs 4000 each for entrances to undergraduate and postgraduate courses—seemed to be unreasonably high. It prompted me to do a thorough study of entrance examination fees at other institutions. The comparison revealed that, the fees of undergraduate and postgraduate entrance exams at IIT, AIPMT, CAT (MBA), NIFT and fees at other state institutions like GGSIPU, Symbiosis college etc. was in the range of Rs 1000 to Rs 2000.
I decided to raise a query to firstname.lastname@example.org to understand why the CLAT fees is so high. I asked if there was any mechanism by which they arrived at this amount. I also asked the cost of the examination per candidate. However there was no satisfactory reply.
The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), is an all India entrance examination, conducted on a rotational basis by 19 National Law Universities (NLUs) for admissions to their Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate degree programmes.
The first CLAT Core Committee consisting of Vice-Chancellors of seven participating NLUs decided that a common entrance test shall be conducted by all the participating Universities on rotational basis in the order of their year of establishment. Accordingly, the first Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) was conducted in the year 2008. Presently there are 19 NLUs participating in CLAT and following the policy of rotation, the eleventh Common Law Admission Test (CLAT 2018) will be conducted by The National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi, Kerala.
Nowadays entrance examinations for colleges as well as competitive jobs such as banks, insurance companies and PSUs are conducted online. So I decided to enquire how much it cost these institutions to conduct entrance exams. I filed an online RTI in LIC (Life Insurance Corporation of India) through https://rtionline.gov.in/ portal regarding the cost of examination per candidate. But reply from the concerned authority was that data asked was not covered under RTI and it comes under exemption clause. I decided to file First Appeal but the reply from the First Appellate Officer was not different. Still the interesting fact is that the examination fees for LIC AAO, IBPS PO, SBI PO are in the range of Rs. 500 to Rs 600 which includes online examination and interview. The fees is reasonable but the entrance fees of CLAT is 6 or 7 times higher than normal online examination fees.
Therefore i have decided to write a Letter Petition to Hon’ble Chief Justice of India to bring his attention to the arbitrary fees of the NLU and Supreme Court being the highest legal authority to look in this nuisance at the very first step into the legal education i.e entrance examination for law schools. It’s not possible for every candidate in India to afford such a high fees for an examination especially when they also have to apply for other State Universities entrance examinations as well. There are government universities/colleges where total course fees for a year is almost Rs.4000. In the case of CLAT we are paying Rs.4000 for just an entrance examination. My main contention in this petition is that “the purpose of an entrance examination is to filter candidates for their respective colleges/institution and not to make profits, their discretion in fixing of fees comes only when they become students of their colleges ,before that they were only candidates”. If SBI, IBPS, LIC and all other such institution can conduct online examination by charging Rs500-600/- then why not National Law Schools, the amount of Rs.4000/- for single test looks highly unreasonable.
The Entrance Examination fees of some other courses/competitive examinations are given below for comparison;
|JEE(Main) Paper-1||Rs.500(Online), Rs.1000(Offline) [Boys-General]
& Rs.1800(B.E/B.TECH & B.ARCH/PLANNING)
|UPSC Civil Services||Rs.100|
Therefore I humbly request to Supreme Court , Ministry of Law & Justice and Ministry of Human Resource & Development to look into this serious matter and may form a Committee whereby fees of entrance examination can be ascertained and students have not to pay unreasonable fees for just appearing in a examination.