Supreme Court Allows COVID-19 Positive Student To Sit for CLAT Examination

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A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Monday, allowed a COVID-19 positive student to appear for the CLAT 2020 exam on the same day.

Brief Facts of the Case

This plea was filed as a clarification to the judgment in Rakesh Kumar Agarwalla and Anr v NLSIU, Bengaluru. This petition has also been filed against the order passed by the CLAT Consortium. It denied aspirants suffering from COVID-19 from appearing, as they were not providing isolation rooms at the exam centres of such affected aspirants. This is in contravention to the provision in the Admit Cards issued, which state that isolation rooms or centres will be provided.

A COVID-19 positive aspirant named Deepansh Tripathi filed the present plea before the Court.

Arguments

Advocate Garima Parshad and Sumit Chandra appeared on behalf of the Applicant. They argued that this latest order of the Consortium is a violation of the Applicant’s right under Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. It is submitted that this prohibition on the aspirants from taking the examination is infringing upon their right to be treated as an equal, and their right to be allowed to appear from the examinations.

The Applicant cited the statement of NLSIU Vice-Chancellor where he had assured that the highest standards of health and safety protocols will be followed at the test centres. Additionally, he communicated the classification of test centres into two – general testing rooms and isolation rooms.

The Applicant urged the Court to pass a general order since there are many such aggrieved aspirants.

Court’s Observation

The Bench heard the plea and took notice of the paucity of time, as the examination was to be conducted on that very same day.

The Court accepted the application. They asked the Applicant to provide for a copy of this order to the authorities when entering the test centre.

However, the Court did not agree with the Applicant’s prayer for a general order due to the paucity of time. The Court noted that the Consortium needed time to make proper arrangements.

Court’s Order

A bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice R Subhash Reddy & Justice MR Shah passed this order allowing the Applicant to sit for the examination.

The Bench noted that the Applicant should be allowed to take the CLAT examination in a separate isolation room provided by the Centre Superintendent. Further, the Court ordered the Applicant to ensure that a downloaded copy of this Order is presented before the Centre Superintendent as early as possible by any other non-symptomatic person.

The Court ordered the Applicant to enter the centre after all other examinees and to leave before all other examinees. Lastly, the Court granted permission to the Centre Superintendent to call for medical assistance, if any was required.


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