Case Title: Writ Petition No. 893 of 2023 [Kshitij S/o. Vijay Kothale vs. Union Of India & Ors]
The Division Bench of Justices Sunil B Shukre and Mrs. Vrushali V. Joshi directed the Ministry of Defence to permit the petitioner to participate in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Entry Scheme 2023 without submitting CLAT PG Score of the preceding year.
A petition came to be filed before the Bombay High Court, Nagpur Bench, by the petitioner Kshitij Vijay Kothale, an aspirant to participate in the Judge Advocate General and an LLM Student at Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh College of Law, Amravati, challenging the condition mandating the applicants to submit their CLAT PG Score for the grant of Short Service Commission in the Indian Army for Judge Advocate General Branch as the same being violative of the Article 16 of the Constitution of India.
The Indian Army released JAG Entry Scheme 2023 wherein applications were sought from unmarried male and female Law Graduates for the grant of Short Service Commission in the Army for the Judge Advocate General Branch. The notification stated that CLAT PG Score of preceding year is mandatory for all candidatesapplying for the same.
According to the petitioner the said condition of mandating to submit CLAT PG Score is unreasonable and arbitrary and further that the CLAT PG score cannot be an educational qualification. The petitioner also submitted that the candidates belonging from the weaker sections may not be able to pursue PG courses from the universities which are the member of the CLAT consortium.
“Efficient Officers can come from any institutions and not only from the institutions which are the member of the CLAT consortium”, said the petitioner.
Hearing the arguments of the petitioner, the court directed the respondent-ministry of defence to permit the petitioner to participate in the JAG Entry Scheme without submitting CLAT PG Score of the preceding yearand further also permitted the petitioner to make his application through offline mode subject to the final result of the petition.
“Considering the fact that it is doubtful as to whether or not taking of such an examination as CLAT PG is an educational qualification by itself and also considering the fact that the condition of uploading of CLAT PG score of preceding year without specifying the benchmark score can possibly be viewed as a vague condition to be included in the educational qualifications necessary for applying for grant of Short Service Commission in the Indian Army for Judge Advocate General Branch, we direct that petitioner be permitted toparticipate in the JAG Entry Scheme for 2023 without CLAT PG score of preceding year and for this purpose, the petitioner would be permitted to make his application through offline mode subject to final result of this petition.”, observed the court.
There is also an SLP pending before the Supreme Court considering the same issue, being Aishwarya Mohan vs. Union of India & Ors. Diary No. 34962-2022, which is still pending for adjudication.