The Supreme Court has imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on Bar Council of India, the apex body for lawyers, for failing to respond to a plea seeking setting up of a permanent body to hold Common Law Admission Test (CLAT). A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud passed the order on a PIL, which has pointed out various flaws in the conduct of the examination over the years and said that the BCI did not file the reply despite being granted the last opportunity.
CLAT is being held for fresh law graduates and clearing the test is a condition precedent for grant of licence to practice law. “Additional Solicitor General appearing for the Union of India prays for and is granted four weeks’ time for filing counter affidavit. Learned counsel for respondent No 2 (Bar Council of India) has not filed counter affidavit despite last opportunity granted for the purpose.
“Counsel appearing on behalf of respondent No 2 prays for and is granted four weeks’ further time for filing counter affidavit subject to payment of Rs 25,000 to be deposited as costs in the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Welfare Trust,” the court said. On July 8, the apex court had granted the respondents, including Centre and BCI “four weeks time finally for filing counter affidavit”.
The petition by Shamnad Basheer has sought appointment of an expert committee consisting of key stakeholders from the legal ecosystem to review the working of the CLAT and suggest institutional reforms. He had also prayed for constituting an independent professional permanent body tasked with conducting CLAT on an annual basis.