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Multi-crore CLAT agreement with 13 other NLUs is so secret it’s exempt from RTI, claims RMLNLU

Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2015 convenor RMLNLU Lucknow claimed secrecy for the three CLAT memorandums of understanding (MoU) signed between national law universities (NLU) since 2007.

The convenor with a letter dated 1 July rejected a Right to Information (RTI) request dated 10 June 2015, which was filed by the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) scheme, asking for a copy each of the MoU signed between seven NLUs on 23 November 2007, and the MoUs signed between 14 NLUs in 2014 and on 10 May 2015.

The convenor, via RMLNLU joint registrar Dr JD Gangwar, rejected the request stating that the information was exempt from disclosure under “Section 8(e)” of the RTI Act 2005.

There is no Section 8(e) under the Act, however Section 8, which lists the exemptions permitted under the Act, provides in its clause (1)(e) that:

Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information

As reported last month in Mint and Legally India, this year’s CLAT is likely to generate at least Rs 16 crore, of which half would go to RMLNLU after deducting the expenses of holding the CLAT.

In 2012 Nalsar Hyderabad had responded to an RTI filed by Legally India that under the 23 November 2007 MoU, India’s first seven NLUs had agreed to discontinue their separate law entrance tests from the year 2008 onwards and admit students through the CLAT, which was to be conducted by each of the seven signatories by rotation each year.

RMLNLU Lucknow, which was not in existence in 2007 and therefore not a signatory to the 2007 MoU, could not have conducted CLAT under its terms. Since by 2014 each of the seven signatories had convened CLAT once, a new MoU was entered into between 14 NLUs to enable the newer NLUs to convene the CLAT, as reported by Legally India in November 2014.

RMLNLU vice chancellor Prof Gurdip Singh had told Legally India that the new MoU, among other things, spelled out the terms under which a new law university could be admitted to the CLAT.

Gangwar, who in an interview with Legally India in June had claimed the convenor was committed to transparency, was not reachable for comment by phone and messages today.

The same RTI was sent to NLSIU Bangalore and Nalsar Hyderabad; no response has yet been received.

RTI response
RTI response

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