The NLU Consortium has decided to consider if the option of alternative questions should be given in the CLAT examination to PwD candidates (Persons with Disabilities), particularly visually challenged candidates, so that they are not at any disadvantage vis-à-vis other candidates, reports Live Law
The decision comes in the backdrop of recent remarks made by Dr. Justice DY Chandrachud, that the CLAT examination does not take account of the "unique challenges of the disabled test-takers," says the report.
On Thursday, Supreme Court Judge Justice DY Chandrachud,had noted that there is discriminatory nature for Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) against disabled test takers. He said that CLAT fails to consider the unique challenges of the disabled community placing them in a disadvantaged position.
The former Chief Justice of Allahabad was speaking at a virtual valedictory session of the 3-day International summit on Legal Professionals with Disabilities.
Responding to this, the President of NLU Consortium, Prof. Faizan Mustafa said that "The Consortium believes in giving level playing field for all candidates. It would never deny equality of opportunity to anyone,"
"The Consortium expresses its gratitude to Hon'ble Dr. Justice Chandrachud for flagging this issue and the Consortium will certainly consider this matter in its forthcoming Executive Committee meeting as President has requested Prof. Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Secretary-Treasurer to include this matter in the agenda items of the Executive Committee." said Musthafa in a statement.
Earlier, Chandrachud had criticized the CLAT for not enabling blind candidates to take visual and spatial understanding of questions. The exclusion faced by the visually challenged does not end when they enter Law School but begins on account of the absence of a barrier-free environment and any accessibility audit to identify the barriers.
"So far as internship and involvement in college life is concerned, it is riddled with biases, lack of understanding and an environment which is not geared up to meet their needs," he said.
"The CLAT, by its very design, its architectural design, perpetrates an exclusion of some of the most talented candidates," condemned Chandrachud. Disabled lawyers must be treated like anybody else and provided additional facilities and training.
The Judge urged law firms and lawyers to not employ disabled lawyers as part of corporate social responsibility but as a realization of rights.
"It is unfair to place the burden of assimilation squarely on the shoulders of disabled students. Our law schools must develop mechanisms and cells like the Equal Opportunity Cell here (at ILS) to address the unique needs of disabled students," suggested Chandrachud.
Chandrachud also pointed out America's LSAT, a similar examination like CLAT, and how it was challenged in the court on grounds of its logic games being inaccessible to blind candidates.
"If the CLAT or anyone at CLAT is listening to me, it is very important to address these issues at the earliest," he added.
(Reported by Sofia Babu)