The Delhi High Court on August 4, 2020, asked the Centre and the Consortium of National Law Universities (NLUs) to reply to a law graduate’s plea. Explicitly, he challenged the requirement of physically appearing at exam centre for the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, he has asked for a completely home-based examination. Like other institutes have done in the prevailing situation. A law student, V. Govinda Ramanan, filed the plea.
CLAT is a centralised exam for admissions to bachelors and masters courses in law in 22 NLUs in the country. The NLU Consortium conducts it. According to the CLAT 2020 notification, the exam is going to take place online at notified centres; where computers would be set up for candidates to access the test.
The counsel appearing for the consortium initially said the plea was not maintainable in Delhi; as the consortium was based in Bengaluru. He also said that it was decided not to hold CLAT at home as it would lead to rampant cheating. The Consortium gave a similar defense earlier, while announcing the examination date.
The meeting of the Executive Committee of the Consortium
The Executive Committee of the Consortium of National Law Universities met on 29th June 2020. On this meeting, it reviewed the impact on CLAT 2020 of the lockdowns and other restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Consortium will issue detailed guidance with respect to the protocols and modalities of the computer-based, online, centre-based mechanism of the CLAT 2020 for all candidates to aid their preparations for the examination. It will also conduct mock exams for all registered candidates to build familiarity with the test application and interface.
The decisions taken in the meeting:
- Firstly, conducting of the CLAT 2020 through a computer-based, online, centre-based test, held on Saturday August 22, 2020.
- Secondly, the release of the notification of the full list of examination centres; for the CLAT 2020 to all candidates on July 1, 2020;
- Thirdly, candidates could register for CLAT 2020 till July 10, 2020;
- Fourthly, all registered candidates could either select or reconfirm their test centres or withdraw their registration till July 10, 2020.
- Lastly, if a candidate withdraws from CLAT 2020; a deduction is to take place from their application fee; – Rs 400 for SC/ST candidates and Rs 500 for all other candidates towards processing charges. Refunds will be made by July 18, 2020.
The single judge bench of Justice Jayant Nath asked the central government to inform the court whether it would be permissible to hold such an exam at physical centres in view of the prevailing pandemic. Further, the court issued notices to the central government and the NLU. The Court has asked them to file their replies in the next five days. Additionally, the Court has listed the matter on August 10, 2020.
Latest Notification by the Consortium
In view of the on-going pandemic situation, the Consortium has decided to postpone the CLAT 2020 yet again. Vide notification dated 05.08.2020, the Consortium announced that the Examination stands postponed until further notice. Additionally, the Consortium stated that the the new date will be announced by September 1, 2020.