Published: 21st September 2020
Separate entrance exam arbitrary and illegal: Supreme Court cancels NLSIU Bengaluru's NLAT-2020
A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan passed the order on a plea challenging NLAT-2020 filed by former NLSIU Vice-Chancellor Professor R Venkata Rao and the parent of an aspirant
The Supreme Court on Monday quashed NLSIU Bengaluru's notification for a separate entrance exam, the National Law Aptitude Test-2020 held on September 12, for admission to its five-year integrated BA LLB (Hons) programme.
While cancelling the NLAT-2020 entrance exam, the apex court also directed that admissions in all 22 National Law Universities (NLUs) be conducted in accordance with CLAT-2020 which is scheduled to be held on September 28.
A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan passed the order on a plea challenging NLAT-2020 filed by former NLSIU Vice-Chancellor Professor R Venkata Rao and the parent of an aspirant.
The bench, also comprising Justices R S Reddy and M R Shah, said all NLUs should start their academic session by mid-October.
The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is a centralised national level entrance test for admissions to 22 NLUs in India. Bengaluru's National Law School of India University is one of them. On September 17, the top court reserved its order on the plea seeking quashing of the NLAT-2020 notification, read with the September 4 press release on NLSIU admissions 2020-21.
NLSIU Bengaluru defended its decision in the apex court to hold a separate entrance examination instead of CLAT. On September 11, the top court gave NLSIU Bengaluru its go-ahead to hold a separate exam on September 12 but restrained it from announcing the results and admitting any student till the pendency of the plea.
The bench, which said it is an important matter which needs to be decided, had issued notice to the university and its Vice-Chancellor Professor Sudhir Krishnaswamy and sought their responses on the plea. The plea termed holding of a separate examination as "manifestly arbitrary and illegal".
NLSIU's action had created unprecedented uncertainty and has imposed an onerous burden and obligations upon thousands of aspirants, who are now uncertain about the future course of action, the plea claimed. The impugned notification provides that NLSIU shall not accept the scores of CLAT 2020 for admission to the academic year 2020-21 and an examination called NLAT be conducted online.
The sudden and capricious decision of the NLSIU has not only thrown the aspirants of CLAT 2020 into a frenzy and in a state of fear and confusion, but it has also severely jeopardized the position of the university in the Consortium. Due to the whimsical conduct of the University, the children are put to extreme pressure and mental stress, the plea said.