Common Law Admission Test popularly known as CLAT is the most popular exam among the law aspirants in the country. CLAT is conducted once a year in month of May. Once aspirants clear the examination, they are eligible to get admission to 22 National Law Universities. CLAT was started in the year 2008 by National Law Universities for admission in UG & PG programs. Before the CLAT all the National Law Universities used to conduct their separate entrance for admission in UG & PG programs in NLU’s. After the decision of conduction of CLAT exam it became easier for the law aspirants across the country to take admission in various NLU’s. On an average more than 50,000 take this exam every year and this number is increasing every year by increment of 7000-10000 students. CLAT exam is getting popular among the student’s day by day.
Now coming to the title of the blog CLAT- The exam of Elites, why I decided to gave this title because studying in a NLU’s not a cup of tea for the students who are financially weak because of the high fees of NLU’s which ranges from 12-15 lakhs for 5 years UG course and for PG program it is 1.5 lakhs to 2 lakhs approx. for 1 year LL.M. Also, the fees of the entrance are really high as compared to any national level entrances for government college which is 4000 rupees for General Candidates and 3500 rupees for SC/ST candidates. Only those who are financially strong they can bear the fees of the Entrances as well as NLU’s comparatively to other law colleges such as GLC Mumbai, ILS Pune, BHU, DU which are much cheaper and best than Lower tier NLU’s as well as entrance fees also.
Since its beginning CLAT always remained in controversies be it the leaking of question papers in 2009 or the questions copied from CAT exam in 2015 and many more. Let’s look at the timeline of the controversy revolving around the CLAT exam.
Timeline of CLAT examination controversy
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.
CLAT 2020 technical errors claimed by 4000+ students, and fault in answer key as a result 3 questions were dropped in quantitative techniques although more than 10 questions were objectionable and the objections were genuine but consortium denied all the objections.
So now if we look at the timeline in which CLAT exam remained in controversy it is more than 50% of its age CLAT started in 2008 and it remained in controversy for 7-8 times till date. Due to major technical glitches and server errors faced by students in 2018 consortium of national law universities came into existence whose main aim was to conduct CLAT exam smoothly and in offline mode and it was done successfully also in the year 2019 although the question paper was much easier that cut-off went all time high 170+ which never happened till date. Most of the questions were repeated from past year questions papers in legal sections. But now came the time of CLAT 2020, suddenly in November 2019 a circular came which stated that CLAT pattern has changed it became a comprehensive exam now, no maths will be asked in exam no profit loss no geometry, consortium will ask students to deduce in quant section in form of data interpretation. Now only 6 months left for the exam CLAT 2020 which was scheduled to take place on may 10th 2020 but took place on 28th September 2020 after multiple postponements. Students who studied hard for more than a year on the old patterns almost completed their prep. Thinking to move towards their revision now had to start their preparation from beginning with Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehensions and GK including current affairs.
Oh My God! What to say about Current affairs preparation was not less than that of UPSC level preparation but Students prepared for that also. Consortium no doubt did a great job by giving 3 sample papers to UG students as well as 2 Sample papers to PG students on new patterns. Although in UG Sample Papers in Quantitative section Data Interpretation based on Time Speed Distance as well as Profit Loss & Discount was asked which Prof. Faizan Mustafa in his video addressing the new pattern said students won’t be asked questions based on time and work, time speed distance instead they will be asked graphs and all but what we saw in CLAT 2020 was really unexpected 2 sets were on Geometry in which 4-5 questions were objectionable which was just a waste of 10-15 minutes in the exam.
But the controversy for CLAT 2020 doesn’t ends here just 12-15 days before the CLAT exam one notification came that NLSIU, Bangalore is going to take its own entrance and they will not take CLAT 2020 score for this year only. This came as a shock for all the aspirants who were preparing for CLAT UG & PG both. NLSIU conducted its exam called NLAT from home proctored in a short span of 10 days after giving the notice which was a disaster. Students were cheating easily on Telegram groups some from their mobile phones and many more malpractice were done. Petition was filed in Supreme Court to Quash the NLAT exam as lot of unfair means were done in the exam and the ruling came in the favor of students and NLAT was quashed. Now SC ordered the NLSIU Bangalore to take students in UG & PG courses from CLAT 2020. But what about those last 10-15 precious days which the NLSIU Bangalore took form the students in the form of NLAT exam.
Consortium time and again showed its hypocrisy in several forms be it giving calculator in mocks and just 2-3 days before exam giving the notice Calculator will not be provide and providing the shitty reasons in the circular that consortium doesn’t knows about the calculator part or whether the conducting of NLAT exam which was utmost disaster or changing the exam pattern 5 months before the exam. Thanks to Covid19 that students got time for preparation on new pattern.
Most importantly Why CLAT 2020 was online??? Exams like NEET where students are more than 16 lakhs was conducted offline and in a safe manner successfully what was the problem in conduction CLAT 2020 offline at centers for 70,000 students (approx.). If consortium wanted, they can easily go for CLAT offline this year too but for what purpose CLAT went Offline in 2019 again that thing happened in CLAT 2020 i.e. Technical Problems many students complained that they are getting really less than expected and many got more than their attempts and this was really unfair but all thanks to consortium they will never accept their mistake instead they will come up with new explanations every time. Due to fault of consortium many students lost their 2 years preparations some even 3 years.
At last I want to conclude that CLAT is an exam of smart work, dedication as well as luck too because you never know when and what strange decision consortium of NLU’s take. So I would suggest no one to take a single drop for exams like CLAT because where Unreserved students with Rank 1500-2000 don’t get a seat in NLU’s whereas reserved candidates with rank 20,000-40,000 get a seat in top 10 NLU’s easily. So, it’s never advisable to take drop for CLAT exam.
Your getting into an NLU will not guarantee you that you will be successful lawyer in your life or not. Not everyone in NLU’s gets placed or becomes successful in life. Consistency is the key for success.
[The views/opinion of the author are personal and does not intend to harm the sentiments of anyone]