As expected, the Supreme Court has passed an optimum and historic judgment in the National Law Aptitude Test (NLAT) case by quashing the separate exam conducted by National Law School of India University, Bangalore (NLSIU).
In terms of benefits to NLUs and the students, one could not have expected a better judgment.
This landmark judgment will be a guide and will put a restraint on those institutions in India that take experimental decisions on short notice.
This decision will also help NLSIU restore its brand, which took a hit with its decision to hold NLAT. I believe that NLSIU as an institution is much bigger than just one wrong decision. It is a pride of India. Let us also give the benefit of doubt to the NLSIU team that whatever they did was done in good faith.
We must be highly indebted to NALSAR Vice-Chancellor Prof Faizan Mustafa and former NLSIU VC Prof Venkata Rao, who had filed the petition in the Supreme Court. They took a very tough stand and have worked very hard. Thanks also goes out to the students and the lead petitioner, Rajesh Kumar Agarwalla, as well as the lawyers and all other VCs of NLUs.
Let us move forward and look ahead for a wonderful CLAT this year.
The whole exercise has disturbed many, but there are a lot of positives to take from it.
This is a lesson for all those who violate students’ rights. In future, all institutions will think about students before making any kind of changes. Although making a sudden change in exam pattern (CLAT 2020 did this) and wrong questions in the exams are also major concerns. There has been wrong listing too (Thanks to CLAT for being transparent and bringing out detailed listing). I am sure there will be improvement on this front too.
CLAT has got a major approval from the Supreme Court. No NLU will dare to violate this now. The Court has taken the matter of CLAT seriously. I remember students had filed many cases against CLAT 2014 for errors in the paper. After one year, the Delhi High Court agreed that there were errors in the paper. Petitions filed in other courts were rejected.
Although the judges have refrained from speaking/making judgment on the unfair means adopted in the NLAT exam, I am sure all prestigious institutions will now wait till a home-based online exam can be successfully conducted before opting for the same.
Autonomy of institutions and responsibility to hold a common exam is much better defined now.
NLSIU's presence in the CLAT Consortium is very beneficial for it. NLSIU is the only institute (among prestigious ones) which has been so rock solid at number one. Historically, only 2 to 8 percent of students choose any other NLU after leaving the opportunity to join NLSIU.
The presence of NLSIU in the Consortium will also help CLAT. It has been helping in the past and it has also helped this year too. This way, the Supreme Court's judgment is a blessing in disguise.
Students got an opportunity to revise the whole syllabus once which will help for AILET and CLAT. The NLAT structure was very different, but the students were tested on more or less the same subjects.
My best wishes to CLAT and AILET 2020 takers.