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No CAT retest for Covid affected petitioner, says Kerala HC

The Kerala HC has ruled out the CAT 2020 retest for a Covid impacted candidate who had missed taking the test on the scheduled date. IIMs had conducted CAT 2020 on November 29 last year in three slots across 425 centers in 159 cities in India.

Both NMAT by GMAC conducted by NMIMS (Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies) and MAT (Management Aptitude Test) of AIMA (All India Management Association) offer the test-taker the option of an online Proctored Exam from Home.

No scope for home-proctored test

A candidate must take the CAT and most of the entrance tests in India at the centers the testing institutes allocate. The only choice is applying for a preference of location.

Candidate files case in Kerala HC

A petitioner in Kerala had missed taking the CAT on November 29, 2020. He had to quarantine himself at home as his mother had tested positive for Covid-19 on November 29, 2020. He had petitioned at the Kerala High Court for a retest of the Common Admission Test.

The petitioner had written to the exam conducting authorities enquiring about the protocol in a situation wherein he had to quarantine himself as his mother was Covid positive at that time. The authorities had responded, permitting him to appear for the test as they did not see him as a potential carrier of the virus.

Subsequently, the petitioner himself tested positive for Covid-19 and emailed the authorities again enquiring about the protocol in the given situation. But he did not receive any response to the second mail.

SC order for CLAT by NLSIU

The counsel for the petitioner had cited the case of Rakesh Kumar Agarwalla & Others Vs NLSIU (The National Law School of India University), Bengaluru (2020). The Supreme Court had decreed the NLSIU to arrange for candidates in isolation to take the CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) 2020 while following safety protocols.

The counsel representing the CAT authorities affirmed that conducting CAT 2020 for the petitioner was not feasible as it would involve much time to prepare the questions for another session.

Involvement of time and personnel makes the retest burdensome

The single-judge bench comprising Justice PB Suresh Kumar of the Kerala High Court empathized with the CAT authorities and ruled in their favor. He stated in his judgement that considering the time and the personnel required to prepare a fresh set of questions, the court denied a retest for the petitioner.

The judge regretted that the petitioner could not take the test when it was conducted owing to circumstances beyond his control. But the judge could not justify the involvement of time and resources required for a retest that might adversely affect the career prospects of many candidates who had taken the test. 

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