CLAT Aspirants Move SC Against NLSIU’s Conduct of NLAT 2020

Common Law Admission Test 2020 has been postponed for the fifth time to 28 September, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Education
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Petitioners say introducing a new exam pattern just days ahead of the test is unfair.
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Five CLAT aspirants approached the Supreme Court on Monday, 14 September, to challenge the Jharkhand High Court Judgment which dismissed their petition challenging the National Law School of India University’s (NLSIU) decision to hold a separate admission test called NLAT 2020.

Originally scheduled on 10 May, Common Law Admission Test 2020, has been postponed for the fifth time to 28 September, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This, NLS Bangalore said led to a sense of uncertainty among students, parents and participating universities.

What is NLAT 2020?

NLAT is an online home-based test that will be held on 12 September and candidates would be selected on the basis of aggregate marks scored in the said online test.

According to NLS Bangalore, since it follows a trimester model in which a year is divided into three terms, each comprising 90 days, repeated postponement of CLAT 2020 has left the law school ‘uniquely disadvantaged’.

If admissions are delayed beyond September, NLS Bangalore says that it will inevitably lead to a ‘Zero Year’, where no admission can take place. This, it feels, would “deprive law students of the opportunity to pursue their studies this year at India’s premier law university.”

What is the petitioners argument?

According to the petitioners, the conduct of NLAT 2020 defeats the purpose of social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic since students will be forced to expose themselves further by appearing for multiple examinations.

The petitioners also argue that a home-based test would not curb cheating, thereby jeopardising the admission process.

They also argue that bringing about a new exam pattern just days ahead of exams is inimical to principles of a “fair and just examination.”

What is the Jharkhand HC judgment?

According to the Jharkhand HC judgment, the petitioners failed to make a compelling argument and thus, it would not be able to interfere with the university’s decision regarding the conduct of the exam.

“It is not justified for a high court to pass any order which has pan India repercussions. The reason behind it is that when the same issue is raised in different high courts, there might be a possibility of different views coming up which would create an impossible situation for the implementing agency to comply with all the orders,” the court said.

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