As part of its Project Eklavya 2022, which seeks to uplift the deserving but underprivileged undergraduate students of National Law Universities (NLUs), the Confederation of Alumni for National Law Universities (CAN Foundation) has awarded scholarships to 51 undergraduate students from 15 NLUs across the nation.
The total amount of scholarships awarded this year under various categories is ₹47 lakhs.
Annual scholarships granted under Project Eklavya fund the education of deserving, but underprivileged undergraduate students of NLUs with an aim to uplift them.
The Foundation received around 75 applications this year, which were subjected to a robust two-tier selection procedure, wherein applications were strictly scrutinised by selection committees comprising distinguished legal professionals. A carefully nominated tier-1 scrutiny committee shortlisted the candidates, post which a three-member high-powered selection committee reviewed and finalised the applications.
The high-powered selection committee comprised Justice AK Sikri (Former Judge of the Supreme Court of India), Justice Gita Mittal (Former Chief Justice of the J&K High Court), and Senior Advocate Rajshekhar Rao.
Prominent young members of the legal fraternity with a minimum of 12 to 15 years of experience at the bar were part of the tier-1 scrutiny committee. It consisted of Advocates-on-Record Amalpushp Shroti, Archana Pathak Dave, Mrigank Prabhakar, Advocate K Parameshwar, Independent Counsel & Arbitrator Radhika Bishwajit Dubey, and Registrar of IAMC, Hyderabad Tariq Khan.
Tier-1 scrutiny committee constituted for the preliminary examination of the applications received under Eklavya 2022, coined a merit-cum-hardship criteria to recommend deserving meritorious candidates for the scholarship. Due to a large number of applications this year, the committee decided to first shortlist meritorious candidates under the ‘Extreme Hardship’ and 'Extreme Hardship with Exceptional Merit' category, which are students with extreme financial distress. The other two categories were ‘Hardship’ and ‘Hardship with Exceptional Merit’.
The committee placed the 74 applications received under the following categories:
The first category includes the cases of 'Extreme Hardship' which consists of those meritorious candidates whose annual cumulative family income is below ₹2.5 lakhs. The committee during the course of deliberations decided that candidates under this category shall be given first preference while awarding scholarships. However, the committee also noted that there were certain candidates under this category that showed exceptional merit.
Therefore, another subcategory, i.e., 'Extreme Hardship with Exceptional Merit' was added in Eklavya 2022. It includes the applicants who meet the criteria for extreme hardship, having outstanding merit, exemplary grades and exceptional academic record, as well as participation in extracurricular activities like moot courts and ADR competitions.
The next category being the 'Hardship' involves scholars whose annual cumulative family income is greater than ₹2.5 lakhs but less than ₹8 lakhs. The committee also agreed that candidates dependent on a single mother should be given precedence.
The last category is 'Hardship with 'Exceptional Merit'. This category was introduced for the first time in Eklavya 2022. The applicants who meet the criteria for the hardship category and possess excellent merit—defined as a score of approximately 80 percent, as well as participation in extracurricular activities like moot courts, ADR competitions, and similar things, are placed under this category. Candidates who had got accomplishments in such co-curricular activities or had exemplary grades and ranks in their academics were also considered for this category.
The committee noted that there are 60 eligible candidates this year. These shortlisted candidates were further vetted by the esteemed high-powered selection committee and it was suggested that the foundation may develop innovative ways to help these young law students navigate their legal careers. The foundation accepted the recommendations of the committee and shortlisted a total of 51 candidates in the “Extreme Hardship with Exceptional Merit”, “Hardship with Exceptional Merit”, “Hardship” and “Extreme Hardship” categories under Project Eklavya 2022.
Thus, as per the recommendations of HPSC, 10 candidates under the ‘Extreme Hardship with Exceptional’ category and 18 under ‘Extreme Hardship’ have been awarded ₹1,00,000 each. In addition to this, a total of 21 candidates under the 'Hardship' category and 2 candidates under “Hardship with Exceptional Merit Category” have been provided scholarship support of upto ₹75,000 each.
The foundation has been able to scale new heights under the Eklavya 2022 because of its student members from various National Law Universities that worked relentlessly and efficiently to ensure the Foundation is able to achieve its target and help their colleagues at NLUs across the country.
Since its inception in 2019, the CAN foundation has made phenomenal progress in bringing the National Law University community together, promoting legal awareness and increasing accessibility to legal education.
In the words of Sriram Parakkat, Chairman, CAN Foundation, “The CAN Foundation strives to erase boundaries and remove obstacles that students face in pursuing their legal education. We at the Foundation are immensely happy to be able to aid bright scholars from the rising National Law Universities of the country so that the deep chasm with the existing top national law universities can be bridged. I hope that Eklavya scholarship is the step at the threshold for these scholars towards a successful and bright future. We at CAN wish them the best in their endeavours and look forward to seeing them grow.”
More details about Project Eklavya can be found on the official website of the foundation.