Supreme Court and NLAT
Supreme Court and NLAT
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NLAT 2020: "NLSIU ought not to be permitted to change the rules of the game midway", challenge to Jharkhand HC order filed in Supreme Court

The petition points out the various difficulties faced by students during NLAT 2020, which was held on Saturday, September 12.

Aditya AK

After the Jharkhand High Court dismissed a petition challenging the conduct of the National Law Aptitude Test (NLAT) last week for want of jurisdiction, the petitioners have now approached the Supreme Court (Xenia Dhar & Ors v. National Law School of India University & Ors).

The petition filed by five aspiring law students states that the High Court had erroneously dismissed their writ petition without entering into the merits of the controversy. Thus, they were constrained to appear for NLAT, which took place on Saturday, September 12.

The appeal has been filed on the following grounds:

  • CLAT was designed so that aspirants would not have to appear for multiple examinations. The entire purpose of CLAT would be frustrated by the holding of a separate NLAT by NLSIU.

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, aspirants would have to expose themselves to further risk by appearing for multiple examinations.

  • Petitioners did not have sufficient time to prepare for the NLAT.

  • Home proctored admission test may not be able to curb the menace of cheating thereby jeopardizing the entire admission process.

  • Arrangements made by NLSIU for students who could not write the exam from home were inadequate and prejudicial to the interest of students.

The petition goes on to point out the various difficulties faced by students during NLAT 2020. These include:

  1. Multiple issues related to verification, login, and facial recognition through their webcams.

  2. Complaints regarding not being able to take simulation exams.

  3. Great difficulty in contacting physical test centres for registration.

  4. Test centres in only 40 cities in the country (centres only in 20 States & 3 UTs, leaving 8 states and 5 UTs without any test centre).

  5. Less time being given than scheduled time of 45 minutes.

  6. Automatic submission of test paper much before scheduled time.

  7. Arbitrary warnings being given to the candidates.

  8. Inadequate infrastructure at test centres.

  9. Unresponsive helpline number.

  10. Various complaints made to NLSIU regarding use of unfair means by candidates.

On these grounds, among others, the petitioners have sought leave to appeal against the Jharkhand High Court decision. In interim, they have sought a stay on admissions to NLSIU on the basis of the NLAT 2020 result until final disposal of the plea.

The petition has been filed through Advocate Kush Chaturvedi.

Following the conduct of NLAT 2020 on Saturday, NLSIU announced yesterday that it would conduct a retest on Monday for those candidates who faced technical difficulties during the exam.

Another petition filed by former NLSIU Vice-Chancellor Prof Venkata Rao and a candidate's parent is pending before the Supreme Court. A day before the exam, the Court allowed NLSIU to conduct its separate examination, subject to the final decision in the matter. The next date of hearing in this case is September 16.

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