The Bombay High Court on Tuesday while dismissing a petition challenging the recently introduced common law entrance test — the Maharashtra CET — said the “manner in which the state government had conducted the exams, left much to be desired”, but this did not mean the entire process leading up to the exam was illegal.
“The state was well within its powers to conduct a common entrance test for admissions to all law colleges, whether private, aided or unaided,” said the HC .
A division bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi was hearing a petition challenging the CET.
Petitioner Shalini Kotian, an aspiring law student, had said the manner in which the test was conducted was arbitary, adding the state did not have existing powers to conduct such an exam for the government as well as private and unaided colleges.
“The court would have been happier had the state notified the students about the exam pattern, syllabus etc. well in advance and thus granted them more time to prepare. But merely because the exam was not conducted in a manner suggested by the petitioner, we can’t declare the common entrance test and the entire process around it illegal, invalid, or unconstitutional,” the bench said.
The petitioner’s counsel, advocate Pradanya Talekar, argued that the exam was conducted under the Maharashtra Unaided Private Professional Educational Institutions (Regulations of Admission and Fees) Act of 2015. This act, she said, “did not cover governmental, aided, and university regulated institutions.”
Appearing for the government, Shrihari Aney had meanwhile argued that the common test had been introduced by way of a government notification under the Maharashtra Universities Act and extended to both government and private institutes through an “executive order” of the government.