Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is a centralised national level entrance test for admissions to twenty two National Law Universities (NLU) in India. Most 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 etc. also use CLAT Post Graduation ( CLAT PG) scores for recruitment of legal positions in the companies. The test is taken after the Higher Secondary Examination or the 12th grade for admission to integrated under-graduate degree in Law (BA LL.B) and after Graduation in Law for Master of Laws (LL.M) programs offered by these law schools.
Before the introduction of CLAT, 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 All India Pre Medical Test. This caused students to miss tests and experience much stress.
There are twenty-three 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 twenty three, 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 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.
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: Under-Graduate Courses
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 recognised 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.
This law entrance exam is of two hours duration. The CLAT question paper consists of 150 multiple choice questions. There are five sections in CLAT exam paper wherein students need to answer questions from subjects such as:
English including Comprehension
Current affairs including General Knowledge
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 - English 30, Current Affairs including General Knowledge:37, Quantitative Techniques:15, Logical Reasoning:30 and Legal Reasoning:38.
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.
As of CLAT 2020, 22 law schools are participating. 37 other affiliate law schools are eligible to use the scores but other law schools may also use it. In addition, many public sector institutions including Oil India and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, are likely to use CLAT PG scores for recruitment.
List of National Law Universities
The list of National Law Schools in India according to their year of establishment are:
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, Jodhpur
Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur
Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar
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, Delhi
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, Assam, 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, Himachal Pradesh
Dharmashastra National Law University, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar National Law University, Sonipat, Haryana
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. As the NLUs are established by the respective state governments, therefore most NLUs also have reservations for their domiciled candidates.
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 and CLAT-2019 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. Now CLAT 2020 is conducted by Consortium of NLUs, which was formed in March, 2019
The Consortium of National Law Universities conducts the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT). For details about CLAT Visit https://consortiumofnlus.ac.in/
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