The Delhi High Court is currently reviewing a public interest litigation (PIL) that questions the requirement of mandatory participation in the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) for aspiring officers seeking selection into the Indian Army's Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch.
The bench led by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Mini Pushkarna has given the Central government's counsel an extension to gather necessary instructions. They've scheduled the next hearing for November 28.
The petition explicitly disputes the notification regarding the induction of army officers through the 33rd course of the JAG entry scheme, citing it as arbitrary, unjustified, and in violation of Articles 14, 16, 19(1)(g), and 21 of the Indian Constitution. The notification, issued in 2023, retroactively imposes the requirement of appearing in the CLAT postgraduate examination, despite its notification and conclusion by December 2022.
Earlier, back in December 2021, the Indian Army had made it known that a CLAT PG score from the preceding year would be a mandatory requirement for applications to the 30th course and all subsequent courses.
The petition contends that making CLAT appearance as qualification for JAG is unjustifiable. It emphasizes a contradiction within the notification, stating that while the test is mandated, the marks obtained will hold no significance in the selection process.
The PIL has further contested the eligibility criteria that mandate applicants to be unmarried and without any record of arrest. It's noteworthy that the Delhi High Court is already in the process of considering a challenge specifically regarding the former criterion.
The Bench comprising Chief Justice PB Varale and Justice Ashok S Kinagi had noted that the Court cannot review or challenge the decision made by the selecting agency.
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