The National Law Aptitude Test (“NLAT”) was an alternate entrance exam created by NLSIU to admit the 2020-25 batch of students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The contentions to NLAT are in light of the by-laws of the CLAT consortium stating that no institution of the consortium can hold an individual entrance exam while being part of the consortium.
NLSIU decided to make this decision in light of the possibility of a zero year, however, the Petitioners, Rakesh Kumar Aggarwalla and Prof R Venkat Rao, former NLSIU Vice-Chancellor, represented by Senior Advocate Nidesh Gupta, believed that this was not an issue of grave concern. The case was heard before a Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subash Reddy and M R Shah.
Mr Gupta submitted that it was not feasible to conduct as there lies scope for manipulating the exam system. The Petitioners argued that the availability 28,000 proctors to monitor was ‘a joke’ and raised other contentions such as the lack of disclosure to the CLAT consortium by NLSIU to and the material fact that the Executive Committee, headed by the Vice-Chancellor of NLSIU decided and signed the matter of postponing CLAT on September 28th 2020.
The Petitioners cited the ratio of the Supreme Court in Preeti Srivastava v. State of Madhya Pradesh, stating that if the same candidate is subjected to several tests he would be put to unnecessary inconvenience, contesting that the NLAT procedure was not fair, transparent and could be deemed exploitative.
However, the apprehensions of NLSIU does hold true, since the possibility of a zero year could possibly disrupt the institution’s standing.