Monday, September 21, 2020

No reason for NLSIU to declare zero year, home-based online test could not have ensured transparency: The Supreme Court's NLAT verdict

“The respondent No.2 had categorically taken the stand on behalf of the CLAT that online test at home with technological measures cannot ensure transparency and the test will be completely compromised and may even be manipulated by participants and coaching centres. There was no reason for change of mind by respondent No.2 within a week…when home based online test could not have been permitted for CLAT-2020, the same test can also not be permitted for NLAT-2020.”

Supreme Court

As reported earlier, several students highlighted the potential of mass cheating when NLAT was first held on September 12, and again when the re-test took place two days later. The question paper was leaked midway through the latter exam, raising questions surrounding the integrity of the process. However, the Bench did not see it fit to delve into whether the exam should be set aside on account of the alleged malpractices that took place. It held,

“…we are of the view that for the present case, it is not necessary for this court to enter into various materials referred to by the petitioners and the reports and to decide as to whether malpractices were actually adopted in the examination or not. Respondent No.1 being premier University, we have no doubt that it must have taken all necessary precautions to avoid any malpractices and cheating in the examination…We need not express any opinion in this proceeding under Article 32 with regard to the aspect of malpractices in the test conducted on 12.09.2020 and 14.09.2020 which is essentially a matter of scrutiny of facts and evidence.”

On these grounds, among others, the Court set aside the admission notification announcing the holding of NLAT and directed NLSIU to admit students this year on the basis of CLAT. The Court has also directed for the reinstatement of NLSIU into the NLU Consortium.

Read Full Judgment

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