The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is a centralized national-level entrance test for admissions to the 25 out of 26 National Law Universities (NLU) except NLU Delhi and NLU Meghalaya NLU Delhi takes admissions through its own test known as All India Law Entrance Test (AILET). Whereas, NLU Meghalaya was established recently and conducts its own entrance exam. AILET is anticipated to be merged into CLAT in the coming years. CLAT was first introduced in 2008 as a centralized entrance examination for admission to the National Law Schools/Universities in India. A few private and self-financed law schools in India also use these scores for law admissions. Public sector undertakings in India like ONGC, Coal India, BHEL, Steel Authority of India, Oil India , Indian Army [For the recruitment of JAG officers] etc use CLAT Post Graduation (CLAT PG) scores.
|Developer / administrator||Consortium of NLUs, Bar Council of India|
|Knowledge / skills tested||Legal Reasoning, Logical reasoning, English Comprehension, General knowledge Current Affairs, Quantitative Techniques|
|Purpose||Entrance to National Law Universities, Self-financed law colleges, PSUs & Indian Army (JAG OFFICERS)|
|Score / grade range||-30 to 120|
|Score / grade validity||1 year|
|Restrictions on attempts||None|
|Countries / regions||India|
|Annual number of test takers||60,000 (approx)|
|Prerequisites / eligibility criteria||Senior Secondary Exam, High School in any stream (for UG courses)|
Graduation in law ( for PG courses)
|Scores / grades used by||National Law Universities, Private Law Colleges, PSUs, Indian Army.|
|Qualification rate||App. 3%|
The test is taken after the Higher Secondary Examination or the 12th grade for admission to integrated undergraduate degree in Law (BA/BBA/B.COM/B.SC/BSW LLB) and after Graduation in Law for Master of Laws (LL.M) programs offered by these law schools. It is considered as one of the toughest entrance examinations in India with the acceptance rate being as low as 3 percent.
Before the introduction of Common Law Admission Test, the National Law Universities 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 National Eligibility cum Entrance Test. This caused students to miss tests and experience much stress.
There are 26 NLUs in India out of which 1 NLU is an off-centre campus of GNLU known as GNLUS, the first NLU in the country is National Law School of India University / NLU Bangalore, which admitted its first batch of students in 1988. Out of 26 NLU, 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 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 organised 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 the establishment. Nonetheless, the matter has not been resolved completely as there are other national law universities that 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 anyone being left out.
The Consortium of National Law Universities was established on 19 August 2017 with the aim of improving the standard of legal education in the country and justice system through legal education with Prof. R. Venkata Rao, erstwhile Vice-Chancellor, NLSIU as President and Prof. Faizan Mustafa, Vice-Chancellor, NALSAR, as Vice-President.
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 Consortium of National Law Universities (NLUs) releases the CLAT eligibility criteria mentions details regarding the minimum educational qualification, minimum marks and age limit.
The eligibility requirements are as follows:
Under-graduate courses edit
Senior Secondary School/Intermediate (10+2) or its equivalent certificate from a recognized 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.
Post-graduate courses edit
LL. B/B. L. Degree or an equivalent degree from a recognized University with not less than 50% marks in aggregate (45% 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.
Exam pattern edit
This law entrance exam is of two hours duration. The CLAT question paper consists of 120 multiple-choice questions. There are five sections in CLAT exam paper which are:
- English including Comprehension
- Current affairs including General Knowledge
- Legal Reasoning
- Logical Reasoning
- Quantitative Techniques (Maths)
All the questions will be paragraph-based starting from CLAT 2020. One paragraph will be followed by 5-6 questions. The break up of marks is generally as follows :
|Subjects||Number of Questions||Marks|
|English Language||22-26 questions||22 - 26|
|Current Affairs, including General Knowledge||28-32 questions||28 - 32|
|Legal Reasoning||28-32 questions||28 - 32|
|Logical Reasoning||22-26 questions||22 - 26|
|Quantitative Techniques||10-14 questions||10 - 14|
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.
List of National Law Universities edit
- National Law School of India University, Bangalore
- NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad
- National Law Institute University, Bhopal
- The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata
- National Law University, Jodhpur
- Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur
- Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar along with it off-centre campus GNLU SILVASSA estd. from the academic year 2023-24
- Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Lucknow
- National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi
- Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala
- Chanakya National Law University, Patna
- National Law University Odisha, Cuttack
- Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Vishakhapatnam
- National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi
- National Law School and Judicial Academy, Guwahati
- Tamil Nadu National Law University, Trichy
- Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai
- Maharashtra National Law University, Nagpur
- Maharashtra National Law University, Aurangabad
- Himachal Pradesh National Law University, Shimla
- Dharmashastra National Law University, Jabalpur
- Dr. B.R. Ambedkar National Law University, Sonipat
- National Law University Tripura, Agartala
- National Law University Meghalaya, Shillong
Note: NLU DELHI has a separate exam known as AILET
Method of allocation edit
The CLAT form provides the students with a preference list. Each student fills the preference list, according to the colleges they desire. On the basis of these preferences and ranks obtained, students are allocated colleges. As the NLUs are established by the respective state governments, therefore most NLUs also have reservations for their domiciled candidates.
Conducting organisation edit
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, CLAT-2018 CLAT-2019 and CLAT-2020 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, National University of Advanced Legal Studies and National Law University Odisha respectively. However, from 2019 , CLAT is conducted by Consortium of NLUs, a body consisting of Vice-chancellors of all the NLU's except NLU DELHI , which was formed in March, 2019.
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 a number of controversies, which includes allegations of setting questions out of syllabus and out of the pre-declared pattern. The declared rank list also contained an error, due to which the first list was taken down and a fresh list was put up. The declared question-answer keys contained several errors, 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.
CLAT-2017 the English paper had several errors.
CLAT-2018 students approached the Supreme Court since there were server problems during the examination. However, the Court refused to order a re-examination.
In 2020, NLSIU announced that it would be withdrawing from CLAT, and conducting its own entrance test, the National Law Aptitude Test (NLAT). However, the Supreme Court of India struck down the separate entrance test conducted by NLSIU and ordered it to re-join CLAT.
See also edit
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