Editorial Articles


CLAT- Gateway to the Profession of Law

Shreeprakash Sharma

Do the high-domed court buildings and black-coat-donned lawyers, pleading and defending the cases of their clients, appeal you? Do you also feel a sort of divine satisfaction while helping the innocent people get the much-needed-life-saving justice, legally deserved by and long due to them? Are you also blessed with very good command over flawless communication skill in a few languages, especially English? And last, are you an extraordinarily genius for arguing with and winning over your opponents through hard-fought-off debate and also by going 360 degrees to collect and furnish the proofs and witnesses to prove and reinforce your points in the dock of the court rooms? If the answer to the afore-mentioned questions is yes then you are ideally the right choice and specimen of an aspirant for getting entry into the profession of a lawyer.
For making a career in the domain of law, the interested candidates need to appear in Common Law Admission Test, popularly called as CLAT, the most important national-level entrance examination for the admission in UG (LL.B) and PG (LL.M) Law courses in the country.
Common Law Admission Test, CLAT is a national entrance test for the admission to 18 premier National Law Universities in the country. It is organized every year for the aspirants who dream to get admission to
5- year - integrated Undergraduate and one-year-Master of Laws (LLM) programmes. CLAT was first introduced in the country on 11 May 2008.
The 2-hour test consists of objective type questions from the Elementary Mathematics, English with Comprehension, General Knowledge and current affairs, logical reasoning and Legal Aptitude and Legal Awareness. The CLAT score also serves as the parameter of admission and recruitment in other law colleges of both the private and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs).
CLAT is conducted by all the 18 National Law Universities on a rotational basis. Last year CLAT was conducted by Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala Punjab.
CLAT is conducted on second Sunday of the month of May. This year’s it is scheduled to be conducted by Chanakya National Law University (CNLU), Patna.
The CLAT makes only Indian nationals and NRIs eligible for the test. The foreign nationals have their seats reserved and for which they require to contact the universities in which they want to take admission. They are not allowed to appear directly in this test.
For the admission in Undergraduate courses (LL.B) the eligibility criteria, inter alia, are Senior Secondary School or Intermediate or its equivalent certificate pass from a recognized Board with not less than 55 per cent of marks in aggregate for the unreserved category while it is 45 per cent of marks for the candidates belonging to SCs and STs. Students, who have appeared in the qualifying examinations (that is 12th class or its equivalent) and the results of which are awaited, can also apply for the test.
For admission to Postgraduate courses (LL.M),the educational qualification required is LL.B or B.L. degree or an equivalent degree from a recognized University with minimum of 55 percent of marks in aggregate (50 per cent of marks in case of SC and ST candidates). Even the candidates who have passed the qualifying examination through supplementary or compartmental or in repeated attempts are also allowed to appear in this entrance examination.
The upper age limit for general category of candidates is less than 20 years in that year of test while it is 22 years for the aspirants of reserved categories.
The 2-hour duration CLAT consists of 200 multiple choice questions. For every correct answer the examinee is awarded one mark while for incorrect answer negative marking is prescribed and 0.25 mark is deducted for each wrong answer. It is completely a computer-based-test which is organized online. The medium of language for the test is English only. There is no age bar for pursuing the Postgraduate courses via CLAT.
There are following five segments of the syllabus of Undergraduate courses of CLAT
1English including Comprehension - 40 Marks
2.General Knowledge and Current Affairs - 50 Marks
3.Elementary Mathematics or Numerical Ability - 20 Marks
4.Legal Aptitude - 50 Marks
5.Logical reasoning - 40 Marks
For the Postgraduate Courses, 150 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) are asked which are required to be answered in 2 hours. The total marks for the test is 150. For each correct answer one mark is awarded while for the wrong answer 0.25 marks is deducted. Questions from the following papers are asked-
1.Constitutional Laws-50 Marks
2.Jurisprudence- 50 Marks
3.Other Law Subjects, like those of contract, Law of Torts (Torts in legal terms are used for referring to the wrongdoings which are committed by one party to another and for which the injured person may sue the other party. The very law dealing in the settlement of these matters is called as Law of Torts.)
The details of Undergraduate Course syllabi of the CLAT are following-
English Comprehension
Under this segment of the test questions from the following areas are asked-
Comprehension Passage, grammar, omissions or corrections, synonyms, antonyms, analogies, one word substitution, fill in the blanks, incorrect sentences, spotting errors, spelling mistakes, rearrangement of sentences in a paragraph, jumbled sentences, sentence improvement. For the preparation of this segment candidates need to brush up on the basic knowledge of English grammar and also enrich the vocabulary.
General Knowledge- This part of the syllabus tests the general awareness of the aspirants and for the preparation of which entire subjects up to the twelfth level may be very relevant-
Latest news, current affairs on the following topics are included in the syllabus-
Culture, history, sports, news, books, science and technology, dance, drama, cinema, computer, inventions, events of national and international importance.
In fact, the area of general awareness is so comprehensive that it is virtually difficult to summarize them. However, study of NCERT books of classes of VI to XII, on all subjects, may significantly help the students prepare this part of the test very well.
Elementary Mathematics
The main purpose of this paper is to test the proficiency of the students in mathematics up to class X. And for this purpose, intensive study of chapters like profit and loss, decimal fraction, simple interest and compound interest, percentage, problems on age, HCE and LCM, number system, roots, approximation, ratio and proportion, logarithm, discounts, areas and volumes and other topics of mensuration may prove to be very useful.
Legal Aptitude
Legal prepositions or principles. It tests the interest of the students for the study of law, research aptitude and problem solving skills.
Logical Reasoning
In this paper questions of logic from the following segments are usually asked-
Patterns, syllogisms, analogies, sequences and visual reasoning. For the preparation of this paper rigorous practice is very much needed.
For appearing in the CLAT the eligible candidates are required to first get registered on CLAT Application Processing System. After the successful completion of the registration, an email and SMS are sent to the user email-id of the registered candidates. Thereafter vital information are to be filled in on the application form. Last stage of filling up the application form is paying the required examination fees.
When CLAT was introduced in 2008, then it was approved only by 7 National Law Universities of the country but at present CLAT makes the students eligible for the admission to the following 18 Law Universities across the country for the study in the courses of LL.B and LL.M.
Following are the 18 prominent Law Universities in the country-
1.National Law School of India University, Bangalore
2.National Academy of Legal Study and Research University, Hyderabad
3.National Law Institute University, Bhopal
4.West Bengal National University of Judicial Sciences, Kolkata
5.National Law University, Jodhpur
6.Hidayutullah National Law University, Raipur
7.Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar
8.Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow
9.Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala
10.Chanakya National Law University, Patna
11.National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi
12.National Law University, Cuttack, Odisha
13.National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi
14.National Law University and Judicial Academy, Guwhati, Assam
15.Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Vishakhapatnam
16.The Tamilnadu National Law School, Tiruchirapalli
17.Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai
18.Maharashtra National Law University, Nagpur
The CLAT admit cards or hall ticket need to be downloaded usually in the mid of April from the official website www.clat.ac.in of the CLAT. For this all examinees are provided a password to get access to their user ID.
The number of candidates appearing in CLAT has been consistently increasing every year. On an average 50,000 students take this test every year against only approximately 2100 seats across all the 18 Law Universities and so there is a very fierce competition among the candidates to get through it. Keeping in view the toughness of the test we need to study very seriously and in a planned way. An aspirant requires to go through the following vital strategies very scrupulously and religiously -
Candidates must get acquainted thoroughly with the syllabi and pattern of the examination. They also must have the knowledge of the latest changes, if any in the scheme of examination. To get the holistic information in this regard candidates can also take help from the previous years’ question papers and also from the latest sample papers published by different publications in the market.
Who can deny that hard labour is sine qua non of success in this type of difficult test where the life and career of thousands of aspirants are at stake? So the competition is pretty tough and for getting through this entrance test the aspirants are required to labour very hard as per the planned time table.
Preparing notes of important topics, current affairs, vocabulary, synonyms, antonyms and various other parts of English may prove to be very beneficial to get through this entrance test. Self-made notes are always easier to be revised and retained for longer time period.
Mock tests are the rehearsals of the final examinations. When a candidate practises more of the mock tests, he gets much-needed confidence and also the speed of answering the questions gradually increases. Candidates also get acquainted with pattern of questions asked in the test.
For answering the questions of General Awareness candidates are instructed to go through at least two English dailies very intensively. Reading newspapers not only updates the aspirants with current affairs and other events of national and international importance but also help enrich the knowledge of English which further helps the examinees easily solve the  questions in English segment of the test.
The candidates must practise solving numerical questions very vigorously for the preparation of elementary mathematics. To solve questions from the segments of ratio and proportion, profit and loss and simple and compound interest students are required to understand some hidden clues which can be mastered only through regular practice. Taking a number of mock tests and model sample papers will surely help them increase the speed of solving the questions in the examination hall with high accuracy.
Law rules everywhere. Right from the family to society, from jobs to the marriage, from the employer to the government- law cannot be separated from the lives of the human beings. From the perspective of universal importance of law, a law graduate or postgraduate does not have any dearth of employment opportunities, especially when we are presently living in a knowledge-driven economy of the 21st century.
A law degree holder can also progress with specialization in one or more than one domain of law, such as –civil, criminal, cyber, patent, family, tax, labour, administration, company and a lot of various others. Apart from this a law-degree holder can also practise as a private or freelance lawyer from his or her own home. Banks and corporate companies also appoint legal advisers for the settlement of various legal disputes. Not only this a postgraduate law student can also pursue teaching profession in the various law colleges and universities of the country and abroad as well. To sum up, the domain of Law can prove to be an evergreen avenue of plethora of job opportunities and promising careers galore. 
The author teaches at the
Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Birauli, P.O - R. I. Birauli
District-Samastipur (Bihar)
e-mail : spsharma.rishu@gmail.com
 Image: Courtesy Google
(For details visit the website of the Law University holding this year’s exam)