Whether the respondent No.1 being founder member of Consortium of National Law Universities, a registered society, is bound by its Bye-Laws and was obliged to admit the students for integrated B.A.LL.B. (Hons.) Programme through CLAT 2020?


NLSIU, a premier Law University of the country, was established pursuant to a joint initiative of the Supreme Court of India, the Bar Council of India and the Karnataka Bar Council. Bar Council of India, set up a society, namely, National Law School of India Society as a registered society under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960. On request made to Government of Karnataka for establishing the School as University by a Statute, the State Government established National School of India University, Bengaluru by National Law School of India Act, 1986 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act, 1986’).

 Even though obligations on members of Consortium under the Bye-Laws are not statutory obligations but those obligations are binding on the members. All members occupying significant and important status have to conduct in fair and reasonable manner to fulfill the aspirations of thousands of students who look on these National Law Universities as institutions of higher learning, personality and career builders. Further the statutes under which National Law Universities have been established cast public duties on these NLUs to function in a fair, reasonable and transparent manner. These institutions of higher learning are looked by society and students with respect and great Trust. All NLUs have to conduct themselves in a manner which  fulfills the cause of education and maintain the trust reposed on them.

This Court had an occasion to consider the challenge to National Eligibility cum Entrance Test(NEET) for admission in Medical course in Transferred Case(Civil) No.98 of 2012, Christian Medical College Vellore Association versus Union of India and others. A Pertinent observation has been made by this Court in paragraph 55 in the following words: – “55…Building the nation is the main aspect of education, which could not be ignored and overlooked. They have to cater to national interest first, then their interest, more so, when such conditions can be prescribed for 85 recognition, particularly in the matter of professional education.” 75. This Court in the above case has held that holding of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test is a National Interest. What was observed by this Court with regard to NEET is equally applicable to the CLAT. To conduct a Common Law Admission Test for all the Law Universities is both in the national interest as well as in the interest of the education. We have already noticed that it was on a writ petition by a student “Varun Bhagat”, the idea of a Common Law Entrance Test emerged after discussion with Government of India, Law Universities, etc. and other stakeholders. It was with a lot of discussion, deliberation that the Common Law Admission Test could come into existence. We have come a long way with the Common Law Admission Test which has to be further strengthened and streamlined. 

As noted above, UGC in its guidelines dated 29.04.2020 has already asked all the Universities to modify their academic calendar for the academic year 2020-21. The UGC being the body to maintain standard of education in the entire country and having contemplated for suitable amending the academic year, “Doctrine of Necessity” does not arise. We thus conclude that being members of the Consortium respondent No.1 ought not to have proceeded with holding a separate test namely “NLAT” nor the academic 93 year 2020-21 be required to be declared as “zero-year” even if the course starts in the mid of October, 2020.