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CLAT PG 2020 Answer Key: Five Objections and Two Others

The CLAT PG 2020 answer key is out. The time period of raising objections is over. Now when CLAT sits over the objections raised by the candidates to check their veracity, here is my take on seven questions. Out of the seven, in five instances, CLAT provisional answer key is clearly wrong and in two instances, though many candidates have raised objections, CLAT answer key is absolutely correct.

Five Objections

Question number 29

Which of the following is not a tenet of the term Life under Article 21 of the Constitution? 

a) Right to Die with Dignity 

b) Right to Live with Dignity 

c) Freedom of Sexual Orientation 

d) Right to Reputation 

The Answer Key says the correct Option is D, which in my view is wrong. Continue reading

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Uncategorized

HOW SHOULD COURTS RESPOND EFFECTIVELY TO THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC WHILE PRESERVING THE RULE OF LAW?

“The best response is one that responds proportionately to immediate threats while protecting human rights and rule of law.”

                                                                                    Antonio Guterres, Secretary General, UN

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the conventional administrative setups in an unprecedented manner across the globe. Though in certain discourses this COVID-19 pandemic is likened to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1920s, no modern democratic set up has any tailor-made situation to deal with it, primarily due to lack of experience. Hence, countries across the globe have resorted to empirical methods of lockdown and quarantining the population. This has resulted in forced closure of workplaces and businesses, as well as suspension of movement, religious rituals, educational system and even liberty. But as constitution cannot be suspended, any measures enforced under statutory framework must conform to the constitution.[1] This nation has travelled a long way since the ignominy of the emergency of 1970s wherein the constitution was ‘cribbed, confined and cabined’ to the executive whim. It was left to the Supreme Court to restore the constitutionalism and the Apex court responded with giving an ever-expansive interpretation to the Art. 21 of the constitution to celebrate the rights of man. Since then, constitutionalism and rule of law has been the backbone of Indian Nationhood. So, when this country is faced with a near emergency situation with severe clamping down of life and liberty through the executive machinations of “lockdown”, “shutdown”, “containment zone” or “quarantine centre”, can the constitutional courts remain a mute spectator? At the same time, what is the extent to which judicial overreach in this situation be accepted without compromising the overall policy decision? When faced with such a question early into this pandemic the Chief Justice of India has gone on records: “This is really a situation when the Executive gets into action. The usual three ‘Ms’ – men, material and money are in the hands of the government. It is very difficult for the court to assume charge and say this is what the priority should be’ and ‘this is what it should be like. The Executive is better suited to decide on the whats, hows and whens of deploying money, material and men.”[2]  Judicial restraint echoed in the aforementioned quote is being expected to be hallmark of role of judiciary throughout the pandemic. The constitutional courts of this country have displayed utmost restraint and stood solidly with the State, even if the later has resorted to certain draconian measures by evoking the much-criticised Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897. Very succinctly, the Chief Justice of India delineates the role of the judiciary during the crisis, when he says during the time of crisis “the three organs of the state (legislature, executive and judiciary) should act in harmony”[3]. To put it straight, the Courts have started with a fine balancing act. The problem with any epidemic is it lasts for a considerable period of time, and when it is COVID-19 it ought to spring surprises every now and then. The situation is very volatile; it can change within a day. This causes the policy directives to change faster than it can be understood and imbibed by the society. On the other hand, the rule of law is very static to the extent of antithetical to the dynamic executive regulations, on many, if not all, occasions. How are the courts supposed to deal with it? Are they equipped enough to keep pace with the changing circumstances? In the present article, it will be an endeavour to examine the role the courts are playing presently (in respect of COVID-19 situation) and how they should reinvent themselves to deal the situation in a more efficient manner. Continue reading

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Law and Society

CLAT v/s NLAT : The Untold Perspetives

The legal battle between the Consortium of National Law Universities (“NLU”) and National Law University of India University, Bangalore (“NLSIU”) is a matter of interest to both lawyers and the aspiring lawyers. A lot of deliberations have been made on the competency of NLSIU to conduct separate entrance exam (“NLAT”) and now it is left to the Supreme Court to decide the matter on 21st September, 2020. Instead of going into those arguments, the present article discusses certain perspectives, which were not put forth before the Court.

Legitimate expectation of students not considered

When the students applied for CLAT in the month of March, 2020, they understood that they had a chance to get into NLSIU, the top most ranked Law university of the country along with other NLUs provided they cleared the entrance examination with appropriate merit. In fact, when the students paid the entrance fee of Rs 4000 (Rs 3500 for reserve category) for CLAT examination, they had the expectation to enter into any of the twenty-two NLUs of the country. When NLSIU backed out at the last moment and went on with its own entrance examination NLAT, the legitimate expectation of the students who had enrolled for CLAT was dashed on two fronts; first, they could not compete for NLSIU, and second, they could compete for only twenty-one NLUs though they had paid to compete for all twenty-two. True, the Counsellor for VC of NLSIU claimed that they had taken enough step to publicize the new development and also kept the examination fee a bare minimum. But this argument does not resolve the unanswered issue: when the students were required pay Rs 4000/- to appear the entrance test for admission to any of the twenty-two NLUs, they had to actually pay an additional Rs 150/-. The authorities cannot wish away saying Rs 150/- is a meagre amount. Taking a cue from Sr. Adv. Mr. Sankarnarayan’s analogy of changing the rule of game (cricket-football analogy) and Sr. Adv. Mr. Datar’s counter argument to it, the author would like to say that (if at all any analogy could be made), one bought a ticket of cricket match for 28th September, only to know that he would be allowed to watch a football match on 12th September with additional expense. Continue reading

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