In what may mark the start of a new era for legal education in the country, a consortium of National Law Universities (NLUs) has resolved to implement measures to streamline the conduct of the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT). Most significantly, it has been decided that there will be a Permanent Body to oversee the conduct of CLAT.
Further, the consortium has looked into new ways to boost the quality of faculty appointments and improve the accreditation process for law schools.
The consortium was founded in 2015, pursuant to proposals initiated in 2014, and was operationalised in August 2017 at Bangalore. The third meeting of the consortium took place yesterday at the National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), Kochi, under the chairmanship of Prof Faizan Mustafa, Vice Chancellor of the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR), Hyderabad.
The historic decisions taken at the meeting held yesterday include the following.
Permanent Body for the conduct of CLAT
A unanimous resolution has been passed for establishing a permanent secretariat at the the National Law School of India University, (NLSIU) Bangalore for the conduct of CLAT . NLSIU also happens to be the consortium headquarters.
As per a press release, the consortium has decided that CLAT will hereafter be conducted by a body comprising:
– an Executive Committee of the consortium, which would have the NLUs at Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Bhopal as its ex officio members
– the CLAT Convenor of the year
– the CLAT Convenor of the following year (so that he gets hands on experience and becomes familiar with the admission process)
– two co-opted Vice-Chancellors of NLUs who have past experience in conducting CLAT, nominated by the CLAT Convener
The arrangement is intended to bring stability to the yearly conduct of CLAT.
The consortium also resolved to request that Vice-Chancellor of NLU Odisha, Professor Krishna Deva Rao assume the role of Convenor for the conduct of CLAT 2019. This decision has also been endorsed by the CLAT Core Committee.
The next meeting of the consortium shall be held at NLSIU Bangalore on October 17 to finalize the conduct of CLAT 2019.
A plea for the establishment of such an institutional mechanism to conduct CLAT was also mooted by academic and Intellectual Property Law Expert, Shamnad Basheer. In 2015, he filed a PIL calling for the same, which is still pending before the Supreme Court.
Earlier this year, student bodies of NLSIU, NALSAR and the National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS, Kolkata) had also backed this proposal.
Training and exchange programmes for NLU faculty
The consortium resolved to conduct a three-month training for those who aspire to join NLUs as faculty members. At the end of the training, an examination will be conducted to certify the suitability of candidates to apply as faculty members in any member University of the consortium.
The press release reveals that the modalities to carry out this proposal will be discussed, deliberated and approved in the next meeting of the consortium.
Additionally, the consortium also held discussions on exchange of faculty amongst member universities and the issue of resource crunch.
Chalking out Parameters for Accreditation
The consortium has resolved to work out a list of parameters for accreditation by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) for all law universities, law colleges and law departments in other universities. This resolution was passed in view of the fact that the existing NAAC parameters are based on the needs of multi-faculty traditional universities, and therefore they do not fully capture the uniqueness of standalone single discipline universities.
Further, the consortium has also resolved to find ways and means to get NLUs the status of ‘institutions of eminence.’
Read the full press release below: