Updated: Oct 3
Vishal Jain 28th September 2020
A three-judge bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan cancelled NLAT 2020 after reviewing the press release issued and statements released by NLSIU, Bangalore. As reported by The Hindu, the advocate who appeared for the petitioner, Vipin Nair, called the judgment as ‘a victory’ for over seventy thousand law aspirants.
The NLAT 2020 exam was held on 12th September 2020 — results will not be declared as it stands cancelled. According to the Times of India, there were allegations of malpractices and cheating during the NLAT 2020 exam. However, the Supreme Court decided to not intervene in this matter. The court closed the subject by saying “NLSIU should have taken all necessary precautions to avoid any malpractices and cheating in the examination.”
The university’s management was left with two options - either they do not admit students this academic year or go on with separate examinations. They chose to follow the latter. NLSIU follows a trimester system with each academic year divided into ‘three terms of ninety days’.
NLSIU submitted that the by-laws of the consortium were only a ‘contract’ and if it affected the autonomy of the universities, they need not adhere to them. According to The Hindu, the court dismissed this by stating “Every institution maintains its autonomy as per the statute governing the obligation to maintain the core value of the consortium in no manner affects the autonomy of the member university.” It also mentioned that the consortium at its core aims to enhance the content and prestige of legal education.
NLSIU vice-chancellor Sudhir Krishnaswamy stated that the university was ‘facing a crisis’ since they had not completed their admission process yet. Due to the staggering of the admission process, the university would have lost a whole academic year if they did not conduct entrance examinations in September.
The university argued that entrance exams had to be conducted to avoid a ‘zero year’, reported the Hindustan Times. The court, in response, gave the verdict “Universities are not powerless to modify their academic calendar looking at the pandemic. The NLSIU should have very well found out ways and means to start the academic under-graduate law course even if it starts in mid-October 2020 after the completion of the CLAT examination.”
On the other hand, many law aspirants took to Twitter to share their views on the verdict. Some students are happy with the court’s ruling as it has reduced the pressure a little bit. However, some candidates said that it is a significant step by NLSIU as CLAT exam dates are repeatedly postponed.
(Source: The Hindu, Times of India, Hindustan Times)
Edited by Meghna Venkatesh