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An estimated 4-minute read
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The year 2015 will always be remembered as the one when Indian exams suffered a huge blow to their credibility. From PU results to AIPMT, JEE and CLAT, there is a general consensus among students that if you can go abroad even for UG then forget patriotism, just flee.

 The Common Law Admission Test is one such exam, notorious for its botch ups (2012, 2014 and now 2015) which go largely unchecked. Yet, given how law is increasingly becoming a sought after profession in India with a record 39772 aspirants this year it was reasonable to hope that the online CLAT 2015 would go by without a hitch.  However the convener, RML NLU- Lucknow (Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University) has bizarrely managed to mess up every step of the way. Here is how:

1.       Setting the question paper  and answer key

Various questions were out of syllabus (in Math and Legal). It was of an unusually high level of difficulty with previous year CAT questions (for IIMs) being asked.  To top it all these questions were copied wrong rendering them unsolvable by even IIT professors (as proven in a writ in the Rajasthan HC). When the error was rectified they solved it in 2 minutes.

There are allegedly 39 other glaring errors/unsolvable questions in the answer key and question paper. Outrageous claims by CLAT include that Dulcet and Raucous are synonyms.  This forms a mind boggling 20% of the all India paper. None of them have been rectified.

Another allegation is that coaching institute, CLAT Possible (Head office-Lucknow, whose MD was an advisor to CLAT) had informed its students that GK would be from gktoday . 27 out of 50 questions indeed were. 

2.       Conducting the online test

The test was marred with disruptions for hundreds of students as computers crashed and servers failed to account for time lost. Moreover, on publication of individual response sheets, an overwhelming number of students claimed that in specific sections the computer registered an option different from what they clicked on.  A candidate was reportedly asked to come to her test centre at 7:30 in the night after her test “failed to submit” and redo it.

 3.       Declaration of results with publication of merit list, individual response sheet, question paper , answer key

On declaration of results candidates were stunned to have received a score much lower than what they had expected. 

The all India merit list was concealed and candidates with lower scores reported higher ranks. One such petitioner in the Allahabad HC had a State Rank of 51 and a State Women’s rank of 105. “Curiouser and curiouser..”

4.       Revision of ranks

Following outcries by leading CLAT coaching institutes ( LST, IMS), legal luminaries, parents and students over the errors, results were withheld and an “expert committee” was constituted. Its composition is unknown to date save that it had VCs of 4 NLUS. Only emails which were sent to the CLAT helpdesk on June 3rd were considered (something that CLAT did not mention while pledging its genuine intention to receive all representations). The committee released its report on having found a measly 2 errors (a day after the RMLNLU VC had grandly announced on national television that it had found none). The process by which they came to such a decision is unknown. 

In the event that the expert committee had admitted to even 10% errors, a re-test would have been highly possible resulting in a financial loss of several lakhs to all NLUs. Therefore, every NLU had a vested interest in hiding errors. Hence, the expert committee should have been independent, i.e., outside the ranks of the NLUs.


 In an exam where there is an average of 15 ranks tied for every 0.25 marks-39  errors were completely ignored.  Injustice? Welcome to being a lawyer!

  1. 5.       Allotments

1st allotment list was published. At last something had been done right. Wrong Again. As the 2nd allotment list was published domicile category candidates in Madhya Pradesh got downgraded. The reason? NLIU Bhopal had quietly canned its domicile reservation and transferred all those seats to the All India unreserved category. Candidates from lower income families stated that they would not have paid the hefty 50,000 counseling fee if they had known of this.

 6.       Pending writs and course of action

Writs are pending in the Allahabad and Rajasthan High Courts.  June 17th was the last date for RMLNLU to respond in the Rajasthan HC and a judgment was due. RML NLU blithely asked for an extension till June 29th (by which time admissions will be completed – June 27th being the last date) and they were granted the same.

It is clearly too late to revise all India merit list. Keeping  current admissions intact, conduction of a re-test in 6 months will ensure that those bright candidates who missed out will not lose a year but just one semester as is likely to happen in AIPMT.

CLAT which comes under the Law and Justice departments as per the HRD Ministry has not even been safe guarded by the courts. To say that I, like thousands of other aspirants, am utterly disillusioned would be an understatement.  The very system we yearned to join has left us embittered at its threshold.

However what is important at the end of the day is that the egos of the conducting university are intact. Forget the careers of the 40000 starry eyed kids. Forget their helpless parents.  After all, the best egos are the most expensive.  

The author attempted CLAT 2015 successfully and got into a top 5 NLU. However, having seen so many bright students miss out, can scarcely condone such willful negligence.

Tagged in: clat clat 2015
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