It complied with the “triple test” of being fair, transparency and non-exploitative, NLSIU tells Supreme Court
The consortium of national law universities expressed its concern in the Supreme Court on Tuesday about the “mass cheating” and leaking of questions reported during the National Law Admission Test (NLAT) 2020 conducted by the National Law School India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru.
However, the NLSIU told the court that the NLAT complies with the “triple test” of being fair, transparency and non-exploitative. It urged the court to permit it to release the results.
On September 11, a three-judge Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan, though allowing the conduct of the NLAT, had restrained the NLSIU from declaring the results till further orders. The NLAT held on September 12 was plagued by reports of cheating and technical errors. The question paper was allegedly leaked during the re-examination held on September 14.
Former NLSIU Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Venkat Rao, who challenged the NLAT in the apex court, said “there has never been a leak of this magnitude ever reported in any of the earlier law entrance examinations held by the consortium”.
“Respondent no. 1 (NLSIU) has miserably failed in conducting the NLAT exam and has made a large number of candidates suffer. The examination and its procedure lack transparency and cannot be termed as a ‘success’ by the widest stretch of imagination,” Mr. Rao, represented by advocate Vipin Nair, submitted.
The consortium, through its secretary and NALSAR Vice-Chancellor Faizan Mustafa, accused the NLSIU of adopting a “cavalier attitude” which has jeopardised the lives of students.
The NLSIU defended its authority to stray from the consortium and conduct its own separate admission test. It said it was within the statutory powers to do so. It was not constrained by judicial directions.
But the consortium said there were several reasons why the NLAT shows the “malafide conduct” of the NLSIU. These include a lack of publicity for the exams; a lack of physical accessibility; technical errors leading to mishandling tests of students; concerns about mass cheating; conduct of re-test whose questions were leaked; and the different format, place and time of the exam.
The NLSIU, on the other hand, in its counter to Mr. Rao’s petition, rejected the very idea of malpractice, saying the exam was monitored by both Artificial Intelligence system coupled with human proctoring. It said 33 physical exam centres were made available across the country for students.