Have not violated bylaws, raised issue over delay in CLAT several times: NLSIU responds to removal from NLU Consortium

In view of the Consortium's September 6 statements, NLSIU has now stated it has no alternative but to completely disassociate from the conduct of CLAT 2020.

Bar & Bench

Hours after a statement intimating the removal of National Law School of India University (NLSIU) Vice-Chancellor Prof Sudhir Krishnaswamy from the post of Secretary-Treasurer of the NLU Consortium was released, NLSIU has responded by saying that it is dissociating itself completely from the conduct of the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2020.

A press release signed by NLSIU Registrar Prof Sarasu Esther Thomas states,

"... given the statements of the Consortium in its Press Release of 6 September, NLSIU, and its Vice Chancellor, have no alternative but to completely disassociate from CLAT 2020."

Disputing the Consortium's stance on this aspect, NLSIU has asserted that it has not violated any Consortium bylaws in deciding to hold a separate law entrance exam this year.

"NLSIU affirms that the University, and its Vice Chancellor, have not violated the Consortium Bye-Laws. NLSIU has been a Founding Member of the Consortium, and has not acted in derogation of the objectives of the Consortium at any time and in any manner. Moreover, the Vice Chancellor has not acted in any manner that gives rise to any potential for a conflict of interest. Hence, the claims made and decisions reported to have been taken by the Consortium in its Press Release dated 6th September have no legal basis or authority", reads the statement.

The September 6 statement by NLSIU further asserts it had raised concerns over the delay in the conduct of CLAT 2020 several times with the Consortium.

"NLSIU clarifies that the situation arising out of the repeated postponement of CLAT 2020 was fully discussed by the Faculty and the Executive Council which unanimously resolved and authorized the University, and the Vice Chancellor to conduct a separate admissions process, if there was any further delay of CLAT 2020", reads the statement.

It adds that various alternatives had also been suggested to address the concerns, including:

  • Carving out an exception for NLUs where a single national exam may not be feasible in 2020

  • Allowing CLAT to be conducted in two or more series

  • Allowing individual NLUs to conduct an exam, permitting CLAT candidates to appear for a separate exam with no further need for registration or fee payment

These options were rejected repeatedly by the Executive Committee of the Consortium of NLUs, NLSIU states.

"On the one hand the Consortium was unwilling to confirm the date for the conduct of CLAT 2020. On the other it was unable to consider any of the options proposed by NLSIU, or permit individual NLUs to develop their own approach in the exceptional circumstances presented in a COVID-affected academic year."

The University has also contested claims that the Consortium's decisions to postpone the CLAT on two occasions earlier (August 8 and August 27) were taken unanimously.

The decision to remove NLSIU from the Consortium on Sunday has also been challenged as being without legal authority,

"The University responded to the Consortium in writing to point out that the General Body had no legal authority under the Memorandum of Association or the Byelaws to adopt a resolution removing NLSIU from the Consortium. Moreover, NLSIU reiterated that it would fully support the smooth conduct of CLAT 2020", the NLSIU statement says.

However, in view of the Consortium's September 6 statements, it is now stated that the NLSIU and its Vice-Chancellor have no alternative but to completely disassociate from CLAT 2020.

Consequently, the statement signed off by NLSIU's Registrar adds,

"No member of the University, including the Vice-Chancellor or any member of staff shall hereafter participate in CLAT 2020 in any manner, administratively or otherwise."

Read NLSIU's Statement:

NLSIU Press Release 6th Sept 2020.pdf

NLSIU's decision to hold a separate entrance exam for admission to this academic year’s courses has been met with criticism from students and the other NLUs alike.

The move comes at a time when the conduct of CLAT 2020 has been marred with uncertainty owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. CLAT, which is now scheduled for September 28, had been postponed on four previous occasions.

Earlier this week, the NLU Consortium had asked NLSIU to reconsider its decision to hold a separate entrance exam, a move that was said to be in violation of the Consortium's bylaws.

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news