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Kerala High Court issues notice to Bar Council of India, Consortium of National Law Universities on Rs 50,000 mandatory fee for CLAT candidates

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The Kerala High Court on Thursday issued notice to Common Law Admission Test (CLAT 2021) candidates for being considered for allotment of seats in National Law Universities, on a petition challenging the compulsory Rs 50,000 fee required to be paid by CLAT 2021 candidates seeking admission to NLUs (Sivapriya Ajith vs Union of India and Others).

Justice Anu Sivaraman issued notice to the respondents, after admitting the plea filed by a group of CLAT, 2021 candidates seeking admission to NLUs.

The petitioners approached the Court through Advocate Thareeq Anwar K, aggrieved by the imposition of condition that Rs 50,000 is to be deposited for being considered for allotment of seats to NLUs, even before admission.

Mr Anwar contended that this is violative of their fundamental rights to equality and personal liberty and is illegal, unreasonable and arbitrary in nature.

He pointed out that since the students are not admitted to any university at the time of remitting the amount, they are unable to avail of loans from financial institutions as well.

Further, this amount has to be remitted within one day of receiving the counselling invitation. This makes it even more difficult for candidates from financially unsound backgrounds to arrange for the amount by any other means, he added.

He argued that candidates belonging to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) communities, who are granted waivers under the schemes of respective states, are also required to make the payment of Rs 50,000.

The petitioners requested the Court to issue directions to the respondents to strike down the requirement of such payments and allot seats to the petitioners and other candidates, who are similarly placed without insisting on the payment of Rs 50,000. The case will be heard next on July 30.

The plea said that the NLUs prospectus or notifications on the website do not mention the requirement of Rs 50,000 to be paid as a prerequisite to the applicant being considered for the allotment.

Also Read: Delhi HC disposes of plea seeking extension of emergency parole to prisoners aged above 65

The NLU Consortium conducted the CLAT 2021 at 84 centres across the country on July 23, after the Supreme Court refused to cancel the same on July 20. In 2020, CLAT tests were conducted across 66 centres. According to CLAT, 18 additional centres were added for the safety of students and the staff, in view of Covid-19 pandemic.

The results were declared by CLAT on its website on Wednesday. CLAT is a national level entrance exam for admissions to undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) law programmes offered by 22 National Law Universities around the country.

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