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‘Surprised’ CLAT consortium ‘dismayed’, action TBC, as NLS exits to roll own online entrance test for Rs 150 [UPDATE-1]

NLS to create temporary 3rd NLU admissions test this year

NLS will not accept CLAT scores, resolves to roll own admissions this year (like NLU Delhi)
NLS will not accept CLAT scores, resolves to roll own admissions this year (like NLU Delhi)

NLSIU Bangalore has decided to conduct separate admissions to its BA, LLB and LLM programmes this year, outside the oft-postponed Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), on 12 September 2020 with a week for applicants to register for 4% of the fees of the CLAT.

According to a PDF notification posted on a new microsite on the NLS.ac.in website, at admissions.nls.ac.in (which we have confirmed is authentic from authoritative sources), NLSIU’s administration, faculty and executive council (EC) had between 6 and 18 August 2020 “unanimously resolved to authorize the University to develop an alternative admissions process in the event that CLAT 2020 was not conducted on September 7th 2020” (see excerpt and full copy below).

According to the notification, "[h]ence, NLSIU is compelled by the current circumstances to conduct a separate admissions process for the B.A., LL.B and LL.M programmes for the Academic Year 2020-21”.

CLAT postponements cause NLS to revise admissions process
CLAT postponements cause NLS to revise admissions process

Since the CLAT was indeed not conducted on 7 September but was again postponed to 28 September 2020 now, due to a lockdown in West Bengal, NLSIU seems to have pressed ahead with its decision and has launched its own online admissions portal.

The microsite also includes a link to a sample “general comprehension passages and questions” for the “NLAT 2020” (short for National Law Aptitude Test).

The admissions portal is open from today with an application deadline of 10 September 2020, with the cost of applications being Rs 150 for general and PWD category candidates, and Rs 125 for SC / ST candidates.

This is far below the CLAT fees of Rs 4,000 and 3,500 respectively.

In part, the lower cost can be explained by NLS’ decision to run an “online home-based entrance examination” (which had been rejected by the CLAT consortium, as well as eventually NLU Delhi’s competing All India Law Entrance Test (AILET) exam, which had initially intended to run a home-proctored test, like the Symbiosis Law Schools and the LSAT-India, used by JGLS Sonepat and others).

Consequences

Where exactly this will leave the CLAT and other national law schools, as well as those who had registered for the CLAT hoping for a shot at getting admission to NLSIU, is uncertain.

One national law university vice-chancellor (VC) said, on condition on anonymity: “This is a wrong decision and will damage consortium.”

Update 23:08: The consortium, which had been taken by surprise by NLSIU’s move, has made the following statement:

An emergency meeting of the Executive Council of the Consortium of National Law Universities was held tonight i.e. September 3,2020 to discuss the situation arising out of NLSIU, Bangalore’s opting out of CLAT-2020. All the members of the Executive Council except Vice Chancellor of NLSIU, Bangalore were present.

The Executive Council expressed its surprise and anguish on the unilateral decision of NLSIU to go ahead with its own admission test.

The Council noted with dismay that while the NLSIU wishes to continue in the consortium yet conduct its own admission test which is not permissible under the Bye laws of the Consortium. Moreover this new admission test will put thousands of students during the extra ordinary Covid-19 health emergency to a lot of inconvenience who will now have to appear in two tests instead of one.

An emergency meeting of the General Council of the Consortium will be held tomorrow to decide the future course of action. The Executive Council unanimously resolved to hold CLAT-2020 on the earlier announced date of September 28, 2020.

Prof Balraj Chauhan

Convener

However, we understand from a source that NLSIU has written to the CLAT consortium to state that the university remains a founding member and fully committed to the CLAT, though it requires an exception this year.

We have reached out to the NLSIU administration and the CLAT consortium for comment.

Despite NLS’ assurances of its commitment to the CLAT, this could lead to the further balkanisation of national law school admissions, as had been started by NLU Delhi, which has its own entrance test (currently scheduled to be held in physical test centres, two days before the CLAT, on 26 September.

Details about how exactly this will pan out are not clear right now either. Questions include NLS and the consortium handle fees paid by candidates to the CLAT already, as well as potential requests for refunds for those who may just registered for the CLAT in order to join NLS.

Article being updated.

[documentcloud NLSIU new 2020-21 admissions document

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