The Supreme court on 21st September 2020 has declared invalid the conduct of National Law Aptitude Test (NLAT 2020). NLAT is basically an admission test which grants the student admission into premier law schools.
Bench of Justices, Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah also clarified that admission in National Law School of India University, Bangalore will have its admission on the basis of the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT exams). The Court has urged the restoration of NLSIU to the Secretariat of the Consortium of NLUs, which objected the Universities’ move to conduct its own separate exams.
The various reasons which justifies the quashing of the conduct of NLAT 2020 are:
• Maintainability of the writ petition: Since the co-petitioner happened to be has worked as vice-chancellor and was also the member of consortium, he was entrusted with the decision to conduct CLAT (which was a standard examination being conducted for admission into law school since a decade).
• Whether the decision to conduct NLAT needed Academic Council Approval or not: Since the Academic Council’s recommendation was not obtained, hence the notification for the conduct of NLAT could not be issued.
• Whether NLSIU was bound to admit students through CLAT: NLAT follows the pattern to appear for home-based online entrance test. The test conducted cannot ensure transparency, fairness and integrity. If the exams are not conducted in a manner which fulfils the cause of education and maintains the trust, these institutions would not be looked up to.
The Supreme Court has further underlined that other than NLAT the University could have adopted other means to start the academic year. Also, the submission of “Doctrine of Necessity” was rejected because of the situation of ongoing pandemic. The guidelines which have been issued on 29.04.2020 asked the universities to modify the academic calendar for the year 2020-2021. The Supreme Court also holds that even if the session starts from mid of October, the academic year would not be declared as “Zero-year”. Further other reasons such as lack of transparency, manipulation by participants and coaching centrewould not keep up the fairness of the exam. Hence, if no home based test could be permitted for CLAT, the same way tests could not be permitted for NLAT.
-Nidhi Paul (LC Content Writer)
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