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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Moot Court Competitors Sue Competition Organizers Over "Arbitrary and Blasphemous" Interpretation of Rules

Bar and Bench reports that several students from KLE Society's Law College have sued the principal of BMS College of Law over an unfavorable moot court competition outcome. It seems that the KLE students won against their opponents in the semifinal round of the competition, but ended up not advancing to the final round of the competition. From the article:

It all started in the semi-final rounds of the B M Sreenivasaiah Memorial National Moot Court Competition, organized by BMS Law College in March this year. At the end of the semi-final rounds, KLE Society's moot teem was left flummoxed, wondering how the sweetness of victory could turn into that despicable feeling of being cheated. Having beaten their opponents convincingly in the smi-final round, the team were in for a rude shock. They were told that the losing semi-finalist of the other round would go through to the final rounds, on the basis of cumulative marking. In the opinion of the BMS Principal, the term "knock out" meant that the organizers have the power to eliminate a team on the basis of cumulative marking.

The aggrieved KLE Society students have filed suit for a declaratory judgment that their loss was due to an unfair interpretation of the competition's rules. They are also suing for emotional suffering. From paragraph 16 of the complaint (included in the Bar and Bench Article):

That, the Plaintiffs despite having performed exceedingly well, by the arbitrary and blasphemous attitude and actions of the First Defendant had to bear the pain and suffering of a loss which they were not entitled to. Injustice was inflicted blatantly and the First Defendant having no remorse whatsoever just dismissed the Plaintiffs without providing a suitable remedy.
The complaint itself is extremely dramatic, and a delight to read. Here is another excerpt -- this time from paragraph 18:

Lawlessness prevailed in a law college and the Plaintiffs deeply condemn this attitude of theirs. If the Defendants intended to change and interpret the rules like the way they wanted to, they should at least have had the decency and courtesy to inform the Plaintiffs of the same before the competition began, failing which they have miserably failed in upholding the principles of law which they boast of teaching in their institution.
It seems to me like the competition's organizers' reading of the rules was strained, and perhaps arbitrary. But I doubt that the KLE students' dramatic, litigious response will help improve their reputations in the legal community.

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