Students and alumni of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) as well as other law schools are chipping in to provide laptops so that candidates who don’t have access to the required infrastructure can give the home-based National Law Aptitude Test 2020 on September 12. The decision was taken after the NLAT was criticised for not taking into account the needs of all candidates especially those from lower income groups or who live in remote areas with no Internet connectivity.
As word spread, four NLSIU students – Abhishek Kumar, Sourav Mishra, Divyansh Mishra and Aditya Krishnap – decided to reach out to students who do not have access to laptops and lend them devices for a day. Mr. Kumar said that initially he wanted to help at least one candidate who does not have a laptop take the test by providing his device to them. But as requests started pouring in, he and his friends reached out to their peers and found many willing to help out.
Later, the Student Bar Association (SBA) of NLSIU as well as students from other National Law Universities also decided to step in and contact candidates in need. At least 140 students from across the country have stated that they want to lend their laptops to students. The SBA has already received written requests from 80 students for laptops, dongles and wireless routers so that they can get stable Internet connections as well.
A statement issued by the SBA acknowledges that many students, particularly those from marginalised backgrounds, may be at a disadvantage. In the statement, SBA president Vignesh Ramakrishnan said that student representatives from various NLU student bodies have come together. They are collaborating to create a database of students and would be willing to assist aspirants. Students who want to get in touch with them can send an email to [email protected].
Other NGOs are also stepping in. Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) – an NGO that aims to empower underprivileged children by giving them access to quality legal education – will set up physical exam centres for students who do not have laptops or access to the Internet.