When was CLAT introduced? How did it start? What was the purpose of starting the CLAT exam? The History of CLAT

These are some of the questions seeking the background or history of CLAT (Common Law Admission Test). It is the most popular and difficult law entrance exam in India for law aspirants to get admission to National Law Universities (NLUs). More than five lakh students apply for this exam every year. The number of seats is limited, which makes the competition very tough.

There are several benefits of graduating from NLUs, such as excellent placement offers, job preference, moot court facilities, competitive environment, etc. That’s why law aspirants from all over the country participate in CLAT courses to prepare better and crack the exam. The test happens for the 12th-grade students to find the best law college for graduation. Let’s move on to the history of the CLAT exam.

When was CLAT started?

CLAT was started in 2008. National Law School of India University (NLSIU) was the first university to conduct the exam. It is also the oldest NLU in India, located in Bangalore, Karnataka. 

A core committee was formed in 2008 to make decisions about the conduction of the exam. This committee included vice-chancellors of the seven National Law Universities that were participating in the law entrance test. It was decided that the responsibility of conducting the CLAT exam will be on a different university each year, depending on the order of their foundation.

CLAT Exam Over the Years

So, here is how the CLAT exams were conducted over the years:

  • CLAT 2008: National Law School of India University, Bangalore
  • CLAT 2009: NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad
  • CLAT 2010: National Law Institute University, Bhopal
  • CLAT 2011: The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata
  • CLAT 2012: National Law University, Jodhpur
  • CLAT 2013: Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur
  • CLAT 2014: Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar
  • CLAT 2015: Dr Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Lucknow
  • CLAT 2016: Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala
  • CLAT 2017: Chanakya National Law University, Patna
  • CLAT 2018: National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi
  • CLAT 2019: National Law University Odisha, Cuttack

Also read: How to prepare for CLAT 2022

Introduction of Consortium of NLUs

The pattern of conducting the exam was changed from the year 2019. In March 2019, a new committee of vice-chancellors of all the National Law Universities was created, which is known as the Consortium of NLUs

Therefore, the CLAT 2019, CLAT 2020, and CLAT 2021 exams have been conducted by the Consortium of NLUs. 

What was admission process for NLUs before CLAT exam?

Before the start of the CLAT exam, all the NLUs had their own separate entrance tests. The aspirants who wanted to get admission in any NLU needed to prepare and appear for the exam specifically. 

For instance, if someone wanted admission to NLU Lucknow, they had to appear for the entrance exam for Lucknow’s NLU. If the same candidate wanted to try for admission in more than one NLU, they needed to appear for respective exams. 

Why was CLAT exam introduced?

Coming to the final question: What was the purpose of starting CLAT? Why was it introduced?

The procedure of NLU admission till 2007 was making things difficult for many higher secondary students. Since every NLU had its own exam, the schedule of these tests often conflicted with the tests of other NLUs and other major entrance exams like IIT JEE and AIPMT. This resulted in students missing out on some tests.

Moreover, not every university had a similar exam pattern. So, it was difficult for students to prepare specifically for each exam according to the pattern. 

In 2006, Varun Bhagat filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court of India against the Union of India and NLUs. The PIL demanded NLUs conduct a single law entrance exam. The Supreme Court directed for the introduction of a common test. 

Therefore, to get rid of or reduce this burden from law aspirants, the CLAT exam was started in 2008. 

Also read: How to Prepare for Current Affairs & GK for CLAT

NLU Delhi and AILET

Of the 23 National Law Universities across the country, NLU Delhi is the only one not to accept a CLAT score for entrance. It conducts its own separate exam called the All India Law Entrance Test (AILET).

Last year, NLSIU also had shown its intention to conduct its separate entrance exam called National Law Aptitude Test (NLAT). However, the Supreme Court didn’t accept it. 

Wrapping Up:
Hope this article helped you learn about the history of CLAT when CLAT started, the reason behind introducing it, and much more. If you are doing CLAT preparation or have enrolled in law entrance coaching, it makes sense to know the CLAT history and background.