Common Law Admission Test
|Type||Computer Based Standardised Test|
|Developer / administrator||CLAT Committee|
|Knowledge / skills tested||Legal aptitude, Logical reasoning, English, General knowledge, Elementary mathematics|
|Purpose||Entrance to National Law Universities|
|Score / grade range||-50 to 200|
|Score / grade validity||1 year|
|Offered||once a year|
|Restrictions on attempts||none|
|Prerequisites / eligibility criteria||Senior Secondary Exam (12th)|
|Scores / grades used by||National Law Universities, Private Law Colleges, PSU's|
Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is a centralised test for admission to 19 National Law Universities in India. 43 other education institutes and two public sector institutes are also eligible to use these scores. The test is conducted by the 19 participating law schools in rotation, in the order of their establishment, starting with National Law School of India University which conducted CLAT-2008, and up to National University of Advanced Legal Studies which conducted CLAT-2018.
The test is taken after the Higher Secondary Examination or the 12th grade for admission to integrated undergraduation programmes in Law and after Graduation in Law for Master of Laws(LL.M) programmes conducted by these law universities. The two-hour admission test consists of objective type covering questions on Elementary Mathematics or Numerical Ability, English with Comprehension, General knowledge and Current affairs, Legal Aptitude and Legal Awareness and Logical reasoning.
Before the introduction of CLAT, the autonomous law schools in India conducted their own separate entrance tests, requiring the candidates to prepare and appear separately for each of these tests. The schedule of the administration of these tests sometimes conflicted with the other or with other major entrance tests such as the Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Examination and the All India Pre Medical Test. This caused students to miss tests and experience much stress.
There are seventeen National Law Universities in India, the first of which is the National Law School of India University, which admitted its first batch of students in 1987. Out of the seventeen, the National Law University, Delhi conducts its own separate entrance test known as All India Law Entrance Test. With the emergence of other law schools, which also sought to conduct their admission tests at around the same time, students faced a hard time preparing for them. From time to time this issue to conduct a common entrance exam to reduce the burden of the students to give multiple test was raised, but given the autonomous status of each law school, there was no nodal agency to co-ordinate an action to this regard.
The matter drew national attention when a Public Interest Litigation was filed by Varun Bhagat against the Union of India and various National Law Universities in the Supreme Court of India in 2006. The Chief Justice of India directed the Union of India to consult with the National Law Universities to formulate a common test. The move was strongly supported by the Bar Council of India.
Given the lack of a central nodal authority to bring forth a consensus on the issue, the Ministry of Human Resources Development, (Government of India) and the University Grants Commission of India organized a meeting of the Vice-Chancellors of seven National Law Universities along with the Chairman of the Bar Council of India. After a few such meetings, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the Vice Chancellors of the seven National Law Universities on 23 November 2007 to conduct a common admission test. The Common Law Admission Test was to be conducted each year by each of the law colleges and the responsibility of conducting the exam was to be rotated and given on the basis of seniority in establishment. Nonetheless, the matter has not been resolved completely as there are other national law universities which were not taking part in CLAT. However, finally in 2015, a fresh MoU was signed by the sixteen National Law Universities, except for National Law University, Delhi for the CLAT 2015 being conducted by Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Lucknow whereby all the National Law Universities are now part of the centralized admission process without any one being left out.
Only Indian nationals and NRIs can appear in the test. The foreign nationals desirous of taking admission to any course in any of the participating Law Universities may directly contact the concerned University having seats for foreign nationals.
The eligibility requirements are as follows:
Senior Secondary School/Intermediate (10+2) or its equivalent certificate from a recognised Board with not less than 45% marks in aggregate (40% in case of SC and ST candidates). There is no upper age restriction for the test.
LL. B/B. L. Degree or an equivalent degree from a recognized University with not less than 55% marks in aggregate (50% in case of SC and ST candidates). The candidates who have passed the qualifying degree examination through supplementary/ compartment and repeat attempts are also eligible for appearing in the test and taking Admission provided that such candidates will have to produce the proof of having passed the qualifying examination with fifty-five/fifty percent marks, as the case may be, on the date of their admission or within the time allowed by the respective universities.
This law entrance exam is of two hours duration. The CLAT question paper consists of 200 multiple choice questions. There are five sections in CLAT exam paper wherein students need to answer questions from subjects such as:
- English including Comprehension
- General Knowledge and current Affairs
- Elementary Mathematics (Numerical Ability)
- Legal Aptitude
- Logical Reasoning
Marking Scheme: For every correct answer, aspirants are given one mark and for each wrong answer 0.25 marks are deducted from their total score.
18 law schools are participating in CLAT, ordered by establishment date:
43 other law schools are eligible to use the scores but there is no data on the number of schools actually using it. In addition, two public sector institutions, Oil India and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, are eligible and likely to use CLAT PG scores for recruitment.
Method of allocation
The CLAT form provides the students with a preference list. Each student fills the preference list, according to the colleges he/she desires.On the basis of these preferences and ranks obtained, students are allocated colleges. CLAT 2011 has seen a dramatic change. The previous system of asking applicants preferences of institution at the time of filing the application form has been done away with. In an attempt to allow for more informed choice, CLAT 2011 applicants were asked to make a selection of institutions after the declaration of results.
The first CLAT Core Committee consisting of Vice-Chancellors of the seven participating NLUs at that time decided that the test should be conducted by rotation in the order of their establishment. Accordingly, the first CLAT was conducted in 2008 by the National Law School of India University. Subsequently, CLAT-2009, CLAT-2010, CLAT-2011, CLAT-2012, CLAT-2013, CLAT-2014, CLAT-2015, CLAT-2016, CLAT-2017 and CLAT-2018 have been conducted by NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, National Law Institute University, The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, National Law University, Jodhpur, Hidayatullah National Law University, Gujarat National Law University, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Chanakya National Law University and National University of Advanced Legal Studies respectively.
CLAT-2009, which was scheduled to be held on 17 May 2009 was rescheduled to 31 May 2009 due to leak of question papers.
CLAT-2011 candidates were disappointed with the standard of exam, as up to 12 questions in the various sections had underlined answers due to the oversight of the organisers and students also found the paper lengthy in comparison to the time limit provided (i.e. 2 hours).
CLAT-2012 was marred by number of controversies, which includes allegation of setting questions out of syllabus and out of the pre- declared pattern. The declared rank list also contained error, due to which the first list was taken down and a fresh list was put up. The declared question-answer keys contained several error, which resulted in petitions being filed by the aggrieved students in different High Courts.
CLAT-2014 was conducted by GNLU, Gandhinagar and was also heavily criticized for being poorly conducted with results being withdrawn and declared again. Even lawsuits had been filed for re-examination. The uploaded OMRs were then allowed to be physically verified in the GNLU Campus after students demanded the same.
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