The Supreme Court on Friday asked five Common Law Admission Test candidates, who sought the exam be re-conducted, to approach the grievance redressal committee headed by a retired chief justice, Live Law reported. The court, however, refused to pass an interim order to stay or cancel the counselling or admission process.

The petition filed by the aspirants highlighted problems faced by students because of alleged technical glitches in the software during the exam on September 28. The petitioners urged the court to direct the National Law University Consortium to form a committee to look into the grievances and the students’ complaints.

Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, representing the students, said that more than 40,000 objections were raised concerning technical glitches with regard to incorrect questions and answers. “They [the National Law University Consortium] have given wrong answers and wrong questions,” the lawyer said. “On 19,000 objections, there is no response from them.”

In the plea, the petitioners had sought that the Supreme Court issue a direction to the Consortium to ensure that the alleged technical difficulties do not happen in the re-examination. The plea added that the result displayed and calculated marks on questions that were not even attempted by the candidates. The students contended that either more than 10 questions or the answers uploaded on the website were wrong.

The plea said that the students had chosen correct answers, however, the software reflected the wrong or a different answer was chosen. “The cutoff in this exam is not even 0 but -4,” Sankaranarayanan added. “This list has students who have got marks as -4. These students have been called for counselling.”

In response, senior advocate PS Narsimha, representing the National Law University Consortium, argued that if students were being called for counselling, it did not mean they were getting admitted, according to Bar and Bench. Narsimha added that it was important to call the students as an unending counselling process amid the coronavirus pandemic was not possible.

With regard to the software glitches, the senior advocate said two questions, 146 and 150, were removed as per the grievance redressal committee’s suggestion.

The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah then disposed off the plea filed by the aspirants and asked them to approach the grievance redressal committee within two days. A decision on these representations is to be taken at the earliest, the bench added. The court, meanwhile, refused to put a stay on the counselling process and directed its completion by October 15.

The exams were held on September 28 online after being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The results were declared on October 5. The Consortium of National Law Universities issued the first allotment result based on the CLAT 2020 merit list earlier in the day.

Based on the first allotment result, candidates who have been allocated seats can accept and lock their seats or apply for an upgrade or exit the admission/counselling process. The locking needs to be done by Saturday.

The CLAT counselling will involve three rounds of allotment. The second allotment result will be declared on October 11 and the third one on October 14. The counselling process will go on until October 15.