The Confederation of Alumni for National Law Universities (CAN Foundation) in view of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has recently announced the Eklavya Scholars under Eklavya Scholarship 2020 on 14.10.2020.
The Foundation had in place, a robust Two-Tier Selection Procedure, aimed at maintaining the highest levels of scrutiny and transparency. The Procedure gives due reverence to the authenticity as well as the significance of the Project.
While the High-Powered Selection Committee recommended that all the 32 candidates shortlisted by the Tier 1 Scrutiny Committee be awarded financial aid, the Foundation due to the paucity of funds is unable to provide the same. However, valuing persistence above all, the Foundation is in the process of overcoming the fund crunch by raising an additional sum of Rupees 2 Lakhs to make sure that the two candidates left out also receive benefits under the ‘Excellence despite Extreme Hardships’ category.
Mr. Mrigank Prabhakar, Executive Head, Project Eklavya 2020 stated on behalf of the Foundation, “No deserving student should have to face missed opportunities for inability to pay their fees. That is the vision of Eklavya. The selection is not simple and all the applications received have a story to tell. A two tier selection process helmed by a Former Justice of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, distinguished Senior Advocates, and other young and eminent members of the Bar undertake this arduous task, devoting several hours and maintaining the highest standard of discernment.”
The Eligibility criteria for attaining the scholarship benefit under Project Eklavya required stellar academic qualifications along with proven financial hardships. The Foundation, thus, under Project Eklavya, seeks to uplift deserving, but underprivileged, students by providing them with an annual scholarship that facilitates them in attaining a well-rounded education at premier NLUs of the nation who are marred by exorbitant fees thus limiting access.
The Two-Tier Selection Process began sometime in the first week of September 2020 with careful scrutiny of the Application by the Tier-1 Scrutiny Committee comprising eminent young legal professionals with at least a decade of experience at the Bar.
The Committee comprised Ms. Pragati Neekhra (AOR, SCI), Mr. Amalpushp Shroti (AOR, SCI & Advocate, MPHC), Mr. Rishad Ahmed Chouwdhury (AOR, SCI & Advocate, Delhi HC), Mr. Divyakant Lahoti (AOR, SCI & Advocate, Delhi High Court), Mr. Mrigank Prabhakar (AOR, SCI & Advocate, Delhi High Court), and Ms. Suhasini Sen (AOR, SCI & Delhi High Court).
The Committee analysed each application on a Merit-cum-Means basis by meeting virtually on several occasions through video conferences and forwarded their recommendations to the High-Powered Selected Committee. The High-Powered Selection Committee was headed by Mr. Justice (Retd.) Kurian Joseph, Judge, Supreme Court of India with Mrs. Madhavi Goradia Divan, Senior Advocate & Mr. Dayan Krishnan, Senior Advocate as its members.
The Foundation went from pillar to post to afford these students the chance to continue their education seamlessly even in the face of adversity. The legal fraternity as a whole came around to support the Foundation’s vision by contributing to the Scholarship Fund.
Eminent Senior Advocates such as Mr. P.S. Narsimha, Mr. Neeraj Kishan Kaul, Mr. V. Lakshmikumaran,Mr. Dhruv Mehta, Mr. Chander Uday Singh, Mr. Dayan Krishnan, Mr. Huzefa Ahmadi,Ms. Madhavi Goradia Divan, Mr. CS Vaidyanathan, Mr. Manoj Swarup,Mr. Siddharth Bhatnagar, and Mr. Gaurav Agarwalalong with a widespread donor base contributed generously to the Foundation after being apprised of their merits and hardships.
Several NLU Alumni Networks such as NLUO, Cuttack; GNLU, Gandhinagar; NUSRL, Ranchi, and NUALS, Kochi also came forward to help students of their alma mater secure a well rounded education by aligning their respective Alumni to donate for their respective juniors from their Alma Mater.
The CAN Foundation also received immense support from the SCC-EBC Group in a number of their endeavours as the Knowledge Partner. Further, the SCC – EBC Group, known for their pristine publishing standards and stellar legal research tools have pledged their support to the Eklavya Scholars selected under the “Rewarding Excellence” category. The Group will provide access to books worth Rs. 90, 000/- to the concerned students.
The Foundation also has in place a dynamic Student Team drawn from various National Law Universities that worked tirelessly to ensure that the highest standards of efficiency and transparency are maintained in a bid to help their colleagues at NLUs across the country. Mr. Harshdeep Singh Bedi, Student Coordinator, heading the Student Team – Project Eklavya 2020& a Fifth Year student at NLIU Bhopal said, “In these difficult times when earning basic necessities for life has become very difficult for many in the country, we have tried to ensure that priority of education is not demoted. Though we had severe financial crunch this year, our student team burned midnight oil and reached thousands of Alumni, Senior Advocates and other esteemed members of the legal fraternity, across the country for them to support these financially under resourced students. Only with their support, we are able to aid these 28 students, selecting whom was a daunting challenge this time as nearly all of them showed hardships.”
The CAN Foundation since its inception in 2019 has made progress by leaps and bounds to bring the National Law University community together and has worked tirelessly to promote legal awareness and access to legal education.