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Breaking: NLSIU's NLAT and CLAT exit challenged before Jharkhand HC

NLSIU's decision has now been challenged as arbitrary, illegal and in violation of the bye-laws of Consortium of National Law Universities as well as earlier orders of the Supreme Court.

Meera Emmanuel

A petition has been moved in the Jharkhand High Court challenging the decision of the National Law School of India (NLSIU) Bangalore to break away from CLAT and hold its own entrance exam this year for law school admissions.

The petition prays for quashing the notification issued by NLSIU yesterday wherein it had intimated its decision to hold an online National Law Aptitude Test, 2020 (NLAT) on September 12 for admissions to the University in lieu of CLAT which is scheduled to be held on September 28.

NLSIU's decision has now been challenged as arbitrary, illegal and in violation of the bye-laws of the Consortium of National Law Universities as well as earlier orders of the Supreme Court. The petition has been preferred by five students.

The contentions made by the petitioners include:

  • NLSIU's decision to declare a separate examination for admission to its 5-year BA LLB programme for 2020-21 is illegal and arbitrary;

  • NLSIU's September 3 notification issued to that effect is violative of clause 15.7 of the bye-laws of the Consortium of National Law Universities;

  • NLSIU's decision to hold a separate examination without withdrawing from the CLAT consortium is illegal, arbitrary and whimsical;

  • NLSIU's decision to hold a separate examination, while being a permanent member of the CLAT Consortium of National Law Universities is unlawful and arbitrary;

  • NLSIU's withdrawal from the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) violates the rights of the petitioners to have an examination in a just and fair manner;

  • NLSIU's decision to hold a separate entrance exam after aspirants filled the registration forms for CLAT is violative of the principle of promissory estoppel;

  • Declaration of a new date of examination and a new exam pattern by NLSIU around 10 days before the declared date of examination is illegal, arbitrary and whimsical

  • NLSIU's action is against the established precedents of the Supreme Court for the conduct of fair and just examination

Inter alia, it is also noted that the Vice-Chancellor of NALSAR, Prof Faizan Mustafa had expressed his dismay at NLSIU's decision to conduct the NLAT, while still being a member of the CLAT Consortium, which is said to be in violation of the Consortium's bye-laws.

On a related note, the CLAT consortium held an emergency meeting last night following NLSIU's intimation that it would be conducting a law separate entrance exam this year.

The meeting was attended by all members of the Executive Council, except the Vice-Chancellor of NLSIU, informed the CLAT 2020 convenor, Prof Balraj Chouhan.

"The Executive Council expressed its surprise and anguish on the unilateral decision of NLSIU to go ahead with its own admission test. The Council noted with dismay that while the NSLIU wishes to continue in the consortium yet conduct its own admission test which is not permissible under the Bye laws of the Consortium. Moreover, this new admission test will put thousands of students during the extraordinary Covid-19 health emergency to a lot of inconvenience who will now have to appear in two tests instead of one", it was stated.

It is further informed that the CLAT Consortium will be meeting today as well to decide on the future course of action.

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