Background: The Common Law Admission Test (hereinafter referred to as “CLAT”) is an entrance examination conducted by the consortium of all the twenty-three national law schools in the country out of which the first one to be established as the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, established in the year 1987. During the initial years, each national law school used to conduct its test for granting admission to the aspirants. This caused an enormous amount of stress and unnecessary harassment to the students. Owing to the same, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court of India in the year 2006, in the form of a Public Interest Litigation. Thereafter, on 19th August 2017, the CLAT was started. As of now, except for the Delhi National Law School, which conducts its entrance exam called the All India Law Entrance Test, all the other National Law Schools abide by the marks of CLAT. Several private Law Universities in India, also consider the marks obtained by candidates in this exam. The eligibility criterion for this exam is to have obtained a minimum of 45% marks in the higher secondary board examinations, which is 40% for candidates belonging to SC/ST or OBC categories. The examination has five sections, namely, general knowledge and current affairs, legal reasoning, quantitative techniques, logical reasoning, and English.
Issue: According to the recent notification issued by the executive of the Consortium of National Law Universities, CLAT 2021, which was supposed to be held on 13th June 2021, has been postponed till further notification. The last date for the submission of the registration form has also been extended to 15th June 2021. A previous notification dating 25th March 2021, had extended the last date for the submission of the form till 30th April 2021. This is the third time that the exam is being postponed. Via an even erstwhile notification, it had been communicated by the consortium, that the exam, originally scheduled to be held on 9th May 2021 would be held on 13th June 2021. This notification dated back to 6th January 2021. The consortium has advised the aspirants to keep an eye on the official website of the consortium and not believe in rumors.
Reasons for the postponement: The second wave of COVID-19 has taken the whole world aback. The airborne virus has been transmitting itself in an even worse way than before. After the first phase, a lot of states and universities had relaxed the restrictions on many public places. The cases had suddenly started rising in a drastic way which forced a lot of institutions to either shut down completely or shift to the online mode on a compulsory basis. The secondary and higher secondary examinations have also been cancelled and an alternative mode of evaluation is being pondered upon. Under such circumstances, it becomes imperative to grant relaxations regarding such important exams. The consortium of NLUs has always believed that online examinations provide an easier chance to students to use unfair means. The same has also happened time and again during the pandemic. Proctoring has also not been successful on a lot of occasions. Moreover, under the current situation, every second person in the country is affected by the deadly virus. The students are finding it difficult to focus on account of either their deteriorating health conditions or the same for their family members. Due to the same reason, a lot of colleges have even suspended online classes for the time being. There is a shortage of oxygen cylinders and beds in the hospitals. Owing to the fatality of the situation and the recent rolling out of the vaccine, this decision is a prudent step taken by the consortium.
However, a section of the students believes that postponement might not make as much sense, especially since getting vaccinated has not been made legally compulsory as yet by the government. Therefore, it is not guaranteed that the situation will improve shortly. On the contrary, it might even worsen. The repeated postponement is also causing a loss of zeal and focus, lack of concentration, lethargy, and frustration in a lot of students. However, analyzing both the sections of opinions, it can be said in an unbiased form that it is the individual decision of the consortium with the only will to seek the betterment of the students while simultaneously trying to cope with the fatality of the current situation of the country and all that is needed, id due co-operation.