CLAT Places Disabled Test Takers In A Disadvantaged Position,Perpetrates Exclusion Of Some Most Talented Students: Justice Chandrachud

first_imgTop StoriesCLAT Places Disabled Test Takers In A Disadvantaged Position,Perpetrates Exclusion Of Some Most Talented Students: Justice Chandrachud Mehal Jain3 Dec 2020 9:32 PMShare This – xSpeaking about the Common Law Admission Test, or the CLAT, which is the entry point into the legal profession, Justice DY Chandrachud pointed out how the examination does not take account of the unique challenges of the disabled test-takers, placing them in a disadvantaged position. He spoke of how the test requires the blind candidates to take visual and spacial understanding questions,…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginSpeaking about the Common Law Admission Test, or the CLAT, which is the entry point into the legal profession, Justice DY Chandrachud pointed out how the examination does not take account of the unique challenges of the disabled test-takers, placing them in a disadvantaged position. He spoke of how the test requires the blind candidates to take visual and spacial understanding questions, without any appropriate training or appropriate alternatives.The judge was speaking at the Valedictory Session of the 3-day International Summit on Legal Professionals with Disabilities, organised virtually.”If the CLAT or anyone at CLAT is listening to me, it is very important to address these issues at the earliest. The CLAT by its very design, its architectural design, perpetrates an exclusion of some of the most talented candidates”, he urged.”The American equivalent of the CLAT, which is the LSAT, was challenged in court on the ground of its Logic Games being inaccessible to the blind. A settlement was arrived at in 2019, Where the Law School Admission Council agreed to do away with such questions and develop a new version of the test in four years where the analytical reasoning ability would be tested in a manner suitable to the Blind. The settlement states that the LSAT is devoted to ensuring that the test is conducted in a place and manner accessible to all, that it is fair…’we support everyone who is interested in taking the test’, they said”, pointed out Justice Chandrachud.He expounded that the challenges of the disabled in the legal arena, far from ending when they enter Law School, in fact only begin then 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 judge recounted an instance of how a blind law student was addressed at an internship at a top law firm by a partner on “those with special needs”. He urged the law firms and the lawyers to not treat allowing, permitting and enabling disabled lawyers to work at their offices as part of their corporate social responsibility, but as a realisation of rights and as owing it to the society.”They must be treated like anybody else, but the additional facilities must be provided”, stated the judge.Narrating another experience of a hearing-impaired lawyer, Justice Chandrachud expressed, “I ask myself is there a methodology in place so that a hearing-impaired lawyer, who wishes to address my court, is able to tell in advance that this is the case he wishes to argue and to be able to access the court? So that the facilities which are already ingrained in the infrastructure can be effectuated to enable him a meaningful dialogue on a level platform?””Several law students have experienced that the approach of those in the positions of power towards them is ‘now that you are here, we have no choice but to accommodate you’. The burden of facilitation cannot be placed squarely on their shoulders! We must have an adequate mechanism and equal opportunity cells in law schools, provide them a platform to voice their concerns, treat them as an integral part of the community, and provide those with invisible disabilities the whole canopy of accommodation including extra time in examinations, scribes, rest intervals”, voiced the judge.Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more