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For now, CLAT still on as scheduled for 22 August, consortium to meet on Wednesday

Students have understandably been on tenterhooks about whether the CLAT will happen on its scheduled date; equally understandably, the consortium has tough if not impossible decisions to make

Physical centre-based online test for CLAT still to happen on 22 August, at least for now...
Physical centre-based online test for CLAT still to happen on 22 August, at least for now...

As of now, the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2020 continues to be scheduled for 22 August though discussions are ongoing between the CLAT consortium’s vice-chancellors (VC) of national law universities (NLU).

The VCs are due to virtually meet again on Wednesday, 5 August, to decide on the best way forward, we understand from multiple sources.

Regarding the scheduling of the exam and besides trying to get the next academic year on the road for freshers (which is normally scheduled to start around early September in many NLUs), there are several concerns that may play on VCs’ minds.

One of the foremost will likely be the 29 July guidelines by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which prohibit “academic... functions and other large congregations”.

We understand that the CLAT has been considering seeking a specific clarification from the central government in this respect, according to one person with knowledge of the process.

But even before the MHA notice, at a previous meeting of the consortium last week, we understand that VCs of NLUs based in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu had expressed apprehensions that severe lockdown restrictions were in place in those states, which could further complicate matters and make holding a physical exam there difficult in August.

And there is no guarantee that other states won’t impose their own measures at short notice, which might have a knock-on effect on the national exam, which is to be conducted in a single session on a single day, unlike the home-proctored exams of SLAT and LSAT-India.

We have reached out to the consortium for formal comment and will update this article if we hear from them, though judging from the CLAT’s official communication channels as of now there is no real news to share (besides the third improved CLAT mock exam having happened over the last weekend).

As of now, it is likely that the consortium’s intent is to stick with the present exam date but continue evaluating this based on circumstances.

And while the CLAT has increased the number of physical test centres to 204 this year, to endeavour to reduce travel and risk as much as possible for candidates, so far it has been nearly impossible to accurately predict the path that the pandemic and counter measures will take.

Sound advice to aspirants might therefore be to keep the 22 August free, but to remain flexible and manage disappointments and/or relief if a postponement is required for public health or logistical reasons.

Meanwhile, there has been no news from NLU Delhi either and how it intends to, like CLAT, hold a separate physical All India Law Entrance Test (AILET) at some unspecified future date after it had planned and then cancelled its 18 August home-proctored test.

Photo by Michael Surran

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