Vice-Chancellor of NALSAR Prof. Faizan Mustafa, has filed a reply affidavit before the Supreme Court, in the plea against NLAT, supporting cancellation of separate admission test to NLSIU.
In the affidavit filed in the capacity as the Secretary-in-Charge of the Consortium of NLUs, Prof. Mustafa has submitted that there is no provision either in the MoU signed by the NLUs or in the Consortium Bye- laws which permits a member of Consortium to conduct its own admission test.
He has clarified that the decision to postpone CLAT was taken in the interest of students' health however the exam will not be postponed any further as latest Unlock Guidelines do not permit any state to announce their own Lockdown.
The submission has come in the plea challenging NLAT 2020, filed by former Vice Chancellor of NLSIU, Prof. (Dr.) R. Venkata Rao and an aggrieved parent of a CLAT aspirant.
"Attempt To Make NLSIU From Island Of Excellence To Island of Exclusion": Former NLSIU VC Venkata Rao Moves SC Challenging NLAT 2020
Responding on behalf of the Consortium, in discharge of his duties of Secretary-in-charge, Prof. Mustafa informed the Top Court that during Consortium deliberations on CLAT schedule, the Executive Committee did discuss the difficulties which NLSIU may face due to its trimester system but the NLSIU VC did not express any dissent.
He has pointed out that various Consortium meetings were held during the month of August however, NLSIU VC did not inform them about their internal meetings dated August 6, August 12 and August 18 whereby the had resolved to conduct a separate exam.
"It is submitted that being a member of the Consortium, more so its Secretary and Treasurer, it was expected that the Vice-Chancellor, NLSIU, would disclose/inform to the Executive Committee of the Consortium, of which he was a part, in its meeting dated 27.08.2020that about the decision of the Executive Council and Faculty of NLSIU to conduct a separate examination for admission. It may be noted that the faculty arrived at a decision to conduct a separate examination on 06.08.2020, the Executive Council had approved of this decision in its meetings on 12.08.2020 and 18.08.2020. Yet, the Consortium was kept in the dark about these happenings in its meetings," the affidavit states.
"...students were under the legitimate expectation that through CLAT they will be entitled to admission to all NLUs including NLSIU. The future of thousands of students are at stake as they are under tremendous mental pressure and have to appear in two tests instead of one for admission to NLUs", he stated.
"...thousands of lives have been jeopardized due to the arbitrary, irrational and fanciful notification issued by the NLSIU", he said in the affidavit urging the court to stay the NLAT notification to "mitigate the damage caused to students".
Other grounds raised by prof. Mustafa are as below:
- NLSIU has gone against the Memorandum of Association and Bye-Laws of the Consortium provide that the Consortium shall be the sole entity which conducts the admission test viz., the CLAT, for its members. NLSIU has gone against the core values of the Consortium and policies and decisions of Governing Body, and has undermined the very basis of Legal education in the country.
- Students were under the legitimate expectation that through CLAT they will be entitled to admission to all NLUs including NLSIU. The future of thousands of students is at stake as they have to appear in two tests instead of one for admission to NLUs.
- Impugned Admission Notice clearly states that the approval of the Executive Council was received on 12.08.2020 and 18.08.2020. However, under the scheme of the NLSIU Act, 1986, the Executive Council was not empowered to amend the mode of admission of students except with the prior concurrence of the Academic Council.
- Updated Technical/ System requirements notified by NLSIU for candidates to appear for NLAT 2020 is "vice of discrimination".
The purpose stated for the decision to conduct the NLAT i.e. to avoid a "zero year" is baseless, irrational and arbitrary.