Citizens' Issues
Public Interest Exclusive
Class 12 student challenges common law entrance test in High Court

According to Tanya Thakur, the Common Law Admission Test 2012, had questions which were not within the prescribed syllabus

The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has issued a notice to the National Law University (NLU), Jodhpur while hearing a petition filed by a class 12 student which stated that the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2012 was conducted in gross violation of its own specific syllabus. The petitioner has also demanded fresh examination.

Tanya Thakur, the petitioner, said the NLU Jodhpur had mentioned that General Knowledge (GK) section will only test students on their knowledge of current affairs, i.e. matters featuring in the mainstream media between March 2011 and March 2012. Similarly for Legal Aptitude it said that this section will test students only on legal aptitude and not any prior knowledge of law or legal concepts. If a legal term is used it will be explained in the question itself.

However, “in contradiction to what the organizing institution said, at least 22-25 questions in the GK section came much beyond the current affairs period. Similarly, there were many legal terms in Legal Aptitude section that was not defined,” says Ms Thakur, who had also taken the entrance exam.

Considering the urgency in the matter, justice SS Chauhan issued a notice to NLU, Jodhpur to explain its position and fixed the next date of hearing on 28th May. The result of the entrance exam is also expected on the same date.

The CLAT is an all-India entrance examination conducted by 14 National Law Schools/Universities for admissions to their under-graduate (Bachelors of Law LLB) and post-graduate degree (Masters of Law- LLM) programmes. The CLAT 2012 was held on 13th May at 46 centres in 20 cities across the country. NLU, Jodhpur was the organizing institute for CLAT 2012.

According to the petition, the situation was even worse for the Legal Aptitude section. “As far as the petitioner can remember, there were a very large number of legal terms in the Legal Aptitude section which was technical/legal in nature but none of these terms were explained or clarified. She says that most of these questions were from the Contract Act but the terms like void, voidable, void ab initio and many other legal terms were not at all defined or explained.”

According to the Times of India, CLAT’s organising committee had refuted all charges stating that the question paper was set by the experts with questions within the frame work.

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Life Exclusive
Lance Dane: A Pucca British-born knight in shining armour

The great collector and numismatist Lance Dane died in Mumbai on last Wednesday, leaving behind a legacy valued at tens of crores. Vithal C Nadkarni pays tribute to the scholar-aesthete, whom he knew for nearly four decades…

After he decided to shift to the suburbs from South Mumbai, Lance Dane invited me over his digs to look over his collection. “Choose anything you like,” he said with characteristic candour. He’d found a new home for them in Delhi.
 
“You won’t get another chance like this again,” he emphasised. Of course I would have loved to buy the bronze Parvati seated on a Sri-Yantra and a Shiva as the naked mendicant with a dog, probably made in Andhra. And I also knew he had deliberately named a ridiculously low price just to match my shoe-string budget without hurting my ego.
 
Still, I felt I couldn’t take up his offer and I declined. This was perhaps because what I really wanted was too stratospherically valuable to possess or even to bid: it was this solid iron Chatur-Mukha Shiva linga hidden under a settee. It had ostensibly been made in the days of the Lichchavi Republic when the Buddha walked the earth; Nelson Rockerfeller had made a cash down offer of hundred thousand dollars for it and had been politely turned down, Lance said, gingerly poking at the linga that two grown men could not budge.
 
In the same vein, I once asked Lance whether he had one single piece that he treasured most from all those myriads of artifacts, paintings and coins in his vast collection. Without hesitation, he picked up a polished bronze idol of a Nandi from his desk. Centuries of worship had worn the image down to elemental proportions. It was his very first acquisition as a young lad. “I had to save up quite a bit of pocket money for it,” he told me. “But nothing’s given me as much joy as the Nandi.”
 
What about the ones that got away? Was there any one antique that Lance had regrets over losing? “There was this stunning multi-armed Chamunda bronze astride Shiva, cast either in the Himachal Hills or Nepal; it’s now become world-famous after being acquired by an American museum. I was offered it first and I let it go because I had serious doubts about its authenticity and provenance…”
 
My acquaintance with the avuncular photographer-turned-art-enthusiast began during my salad days at The Illustrated Weekly of India, when we were featuring the coffee-table Kama-Sutra (no pun intended) that he had co-produced with that great writer and connoisseur of Indian art, Mulk Raj Anand. I was the youngest sub that had been put in charge of the pages and Lance went out of his way to sweeten the assignment with books and catalogues lent with just a handshake. I too lent him on occasion masks, photographs and small collectibles that he was always documenting with his cameras in the sun-lit balcony of his apartment in Bhandar Galli at Mahim. But I am getting ahead of my story: For there were also rumours about his colourful, Richard Burtonesque (not the actor, the Indologist), life; His passion for collecting erotica, for example, or the treasure trove of Indian coins that he’s supposed to have amassed with the zeal of an Indiana Jones character; There was talk of a handsome tax amnesty that he’d allegedly won from the powers-that-be in exchange for a substantial part of his massive collection. There were also stories galore about acts of kindness of this Pucca British-born (or was it Austrialia-born) knight in shining armour!

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