Delhi: Hon’ble Delhi High Court on Tuesday, 4th August, 2020 asked the Centre and the Consortium of National Law Universities (NLU) to reply to Advocate V. Govinda Ramanan, an LLM aspirant’s plea impugning the CLAT-2020 notification, in so far as it mandates/directs the physical presence of the Applicants/Petitioner at the examination center for the purpose of the said CLAT-2020 examination.
The plea further seeks direction from the Hon’ble court to the Consortium for conducting a complete home-based online examination in view of the present COVID-19 pandemic, as has been done by other similar institutes. The plea raises the sheer contradiction between the advisory issued by the Government of India and the CLAT-2020 Notification.
One of the Primary arguments which has been put forth in the said Petition by Advocate V. Govinda Ramanan is that there are certain group of individuals, who have been specifically advised by the Government of India (“GOI”) to stay at home, which include persons above the age of 65, person with co-morbidities, pregnant women, whereas, per contra to the said advisory, the Consortium of NLUs are forcing the Petitioner/Applicants to physically appear before the examination center, therefore, making the same as illegal/erroneous and in complete contravention to the directives/advisory issued by the GOI and as such is also violative of the “Right To Life” which is enshrined in the Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Justice Jayant Nath asked the central government to inform the court whether it would be permissible to hold such an exam at physical centers in view of the prevailing pandemic.
The court issued notices to the central government and the NLU, seeking their stand by August 10 on the petition which has sought that the online CLAT exams be allowed to be undertaken from home.
CLAT is a centralised exam for admissions to bachelors and masters courses in law in 22 NLUs in the country and is conducted by the consortium. Under the CLAT 2020 notification, the exam would be held online at notified centres where computers would be set up for candidates to access the test.
The counsel appearing for the consortium initially said the plea was not maintainable in Delhi as the consortium was based in Bengaluru. He also said that it was decided not to hold CLAT at home as it would lead to rampant cheating.
The Petition is now listed for further hearing on 10th August, 2020.