CLAT Clearance Mandate for NTPC Law Officer Appointment Prima Facie Discriminatory: Kerala High Court

Team SoOLEGAL 6 Jan 2022 3:11pm

CLAT Clearance Mandate for NTPC Law Officer Appointment Prima Facie Discriminatory: Kerala High Court

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday found validity in the petitioner’s arguments, which sought to overturn the requirement that candidates pass the CLAT in order to apply for the position of Assistant Law Officer at National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC).

Finding the requirement to be presumptively discriminatory, Justice V.G. Arun stated that there was no justification for excluding candidates like the petitioner from the position:
“The question arising for consideration is whether, after having prescribed LLB degree from any recognized Indian University with 60% marks as qualification, the eligibility criteria can be restricted to candidates who have appeared for CLAT – 2021 Post Graduation Program and CLAT score made the basis for Selection.

I am of the prima facie opinion that the condition is discriminatory. The ancillary question is whether persons having requisite qualifications can be compelled to appear for the CLAT post Graduation Program as a condition precedent for accepting their applications.

Even if the CLAT exam conducted by the Consortium of National Law Universities is capable of selecting the brightest students, that is no justification for thwarting the career prospects of law graduates like the petitioner.”

The respondents were so instructed to accept the petitioner’s application, subject to the outcome of the writ petition. Advocate Maitreyi S. Hegde, appearing for the petitioner, contended that, as a public sector undertaking falling under the definition of Article 12 of the Constitution, the NTPC cannot deny opportunities to individuals such as the petitioner simply because she is pursuing her Post Graduation Program at a university that is not a member of the consortium of National Law Universities.

It was also suggested that there is no connection between the goal attempted to be attained by imposing such a restriction and the CLAT test, as the CLAT exam is designed to measure students’ academic brilliance, whereas the NTPC is designed to pick the finest among legal professionals.

ASGI S. Manu, on the other hand, argued that determining qualifying conditions for appointment to a certain role is solely the employer’s discretion. The NTPC is looking for Executives (Law Officers) who have a specialized set of abilities and can comprehend the subtleties of the power business.

CLAT, he explained, is a national level examination administered by the Consortium of National Universities with the purpose of screening and choosing the best candidates. Because of their confidence in the quality of law graduates recruited through CLAT PG Programs, not only the NTPC, but a member of other PSUs are following suit.

Taking into account all of the arguments, the Judge determined that, while the petitioner’s application may be approved for the time being, applications should be filed electronically, and the system may reject applications that are not in accordance with the notification.

For the time being, the petitioner may submit her application by visiting the website listed in the announcement. If the system does not accept the application, it can be brought to the attention of this Court, according to the Order.

Tagged: Kerala High Court   NTPC   Law Officer   CLAT   LLB degree   Post Graduation Program   Justice V.G. Arun   CLAT PG Programs  
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