This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Vensy Krishna. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

CLAT 2018 Mismanaged, Calls For Retest Echo Nationally

More from Vensy Krishna

On May 13, 2018, an unprecedented 59,000 students wrote the Common Law Admission Test, the national law entrance examination. The number of law aspirants in India has been rising spectacularly over the last few years, but the expectations about the fair conducting of the exam have only fallen year after year. This year’s edition has been the worst in the history of the exam, with widespread complaints pouring in from all corners of the country.

The most frequent issue that seems to have been felt by hundreds of students is that the questions did not get displayed on their screen at 3:00 PM, when the exam was supposed to start, and they faced around five to ten minutes of delay before the first question showed up. In other cases, when the screen opened, the questions or the options were missing or were still encrypted and did not display properly.

Another widespread issue had been that the systems provided to candidates repeatedly hanged or shut down, or the screen froze, all while the timer counted down their time. All of this resulted in delays and loss of time, in an exam where attempting all 200 questions is difficult even with the two hours utilised completely. Further, when there are 60,000 students writing the exam, fighting for just around 2000 seats, a difference of a mere 0.25 mark is sufficient to alter your future. It is the difference between a rank that gets you an NLU, or one that forces you to drop a year or let go of your dream of studying law.

Additionally, another serious issue has been that of corrupt hardware, such as malfunctioning mouses and monitor screens. Other complaints that have been heard relate to bad infrastructure – many centres did not provide proper chairs to candidates and made them write the exam in the heat without switching on the AC or the fans, nor did they provide them with water in the mid-May heat. Many candidates also complained of ill-behaved and unhelpful staff at the centres, who in addition to causing delays themselves, also went on to pick fights with students while the exam was going on!

But perhaps the most serious complaint raised so far is that of improper invigilation. Stories are being shared of multiple centres in the country where the invigilators walked out of the room or simply allowed the candidates to talk and discuss questions amongst themselves. In other cases, where the computers stopped working, or the screen froze in the middle of the test, the centre staff scuttled about helplessly, while the candidates were allowed to have a discussion about the questions they attempted so far.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdYOImBJfes

Parents complain to the police while invigilators argue right next to the computer lab, all while the exam goes on in a centre in Varanasi.

Adding to an ever-growing list of reminders that goes into every article that talks about the CLAT every year, this is not the first time that CLAT found itself in a hot mess. The first CLAT, held in 2008, is the only edition to have been conducted without any controversy. In 2009, there were allegations that the paper was leaked. In 2011, the paper was found to have some answers underlined among the MCQs. In 2012, the organizers gave explicit instructions saying certain question types would not be featured, unlike previous years, only to include many such questions anyway. In 2014, the rank lists and results were messed up. In 2015, many questions were found to have wrong or no answers. And even while exceptionally easy, 2016 still had a few errors in its answer key. The 2017 paper also followed suit and had around 15 errors in its questions.

If these issues related to the conduct of the nation’s premier law entrance test are not enough to shake your conscience, let us contextualize this a bit further. Each of the 59,000 candidates who wrote the exam this year was charged a whopping Rs 4000 for registration by this year’s organizing University, NUALS Kochi. This means that the University generated a revenue of Rs 23 crores for conducting this examination. An industry insider will be able to tell you that a fraction of this amount goes into conducting an online examination without any glitches. It is clear that this year’s technology partner, Sify, had not properly vetted their examination centres, or attempted to conduct a meaningful sensitization programme for their staff before the exam. NUALS Kochi must respond appropriately, taking steps to address each of the grievances, while detailing exactly what the 23 crores were spent on, if not on finding an effective technology partner.

While this year seems no different in terms of the CLAT tradition of inefficiency being followed, the number of issues that are being reported (even before the answer key has been released) is of an unprecedented level and nature. This time, action needs to be taken by the government swiftly, especially in light of the Class 12 CBSE Economics retest that was conducted citing justice and faith in the Indian education system.

In case no action is taken this year, law aspirants across the country will lose the little faith they have in this exam, and will choose to study a different stream instead. Keep in mind that coaching centres charge between ₹1-2 lakh for CLAT training, and many students from middle-class backgrounds are unable to afford the amount. The students who are able to drop a year, are those from affluent backgrounds who can finance the coaching and can afford to spend another year studying. All this exacerbates the lack of access to legal education for students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, a fact that is painfully evident in the demographics of all National Law Universities.

A plea for a retest is already being heard through online petitions and in social media portals. Another important requirement in this regard is the constitution of a permanent CLAT body that is responsible for organising the national law entrance test. So far, CLAT has been conducted by each of the NLUs on a rational basis, with each edition being conducted by a different university, resulting in opaque administration and lack of accountability.

Having such an independent body for the conduct of a national exam, such as the Joint Admissions Board for the IITs, is important to bring transparency to the system and to hold relevant persons accountable, and avoid exactly the kind of issues that candidates faced this year, and previously as well. The issue has been fought for in the past, with an important writ that was filed in 2015 still being heard by the Supreme Court. One can hope that this year’s protests will finally result in the Court intervening and bringing some meaningful resolution to the issue.

While it might seem futile to fight against this year’s debacle considering the lack of impact of previous year’s protests, this year’s fiasco is far graver than the previous ones. With thousands of school students now looking at law as a viable career option, it is also an important time to set things right and assure them that all their time, money and efforts will not go in vain. At least now, after all these years, let us teach the future generations of India’s lawyers what justice and integrity look like.

Please participate in this survey if you have faced issues during CLAT 2018.

You must be to comment.
  1. Ruby Sirohi

    I also faced problem ,,their was a problem in the centre ,, they waste our time and said they gave extra time but they didn’t gave extra time ,,,we need justice,,

  2. Sumanth Naradasu

    Retest of exam must be done

  3. Ankur jain

    the interface provided by center was worst i had ever expirenced .. their was delay in starting time of the paper .
    their was a technical issue in the computers and interface provided
    specially next botton for next questions….
    center is not good and infrastructure is very bad and even fan is not working properly during the extreme sun is sinning ..so, please understand our grievances and please retake exam

  4. Ashton Emerson

    Clat- combating luck against time.

More from Vensy Krishna

Similar Posts

By Vipashyana Dubey

By Imran Hasib

By Meemansa Narula

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below