The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is one of the most sought after national exam for admissions into undergraduate and post graduate law degree programs. The most significant section in CLAT is the legal aptitude section. 25% marks are allotted to this section which also happens to be the tie-breaker section in CLAT. This section tests an aspirant's research aptitude and problem solving ability. The section carries 50 questions with a weightage of 50 marks. The legal aptitude section of CLAT consists of the following type of questions:
- Legal Reasoning
- Legal Facts
- Legal G.K
The distribution of marks for these sub-sections may every year year.
1) Legal Reasoning: Legal aptitude questions from the reasoning section consist of a legal principle and a set of facts. The given principle has to be applied to the facts and accordingly the most appropriate option has to be picked by the student. The legal principle questions will primarily from the law of torts, law of contract and the Indian Penal Code. Consider the following question that came in CLAT 2016:
Q. PRINCIPLE: Law never enforces an impossible promise.
FACT: A made a promise to B to discover treasure by magic.
- Law will enforce the promise.
- Law will enforce the promise only at the option of A.
- Law will not enforce the promise.
- Law will enforce the promise only at the option of B
Explanation: The Contract Act lays down that “Agreement to do an impossible act is void”. For example, A agrees to bring a dead body alive in return for a crore of rupees. Then such an agreement would not be enforceable.
2) Legal facts: This part tests the student on his knowledge of legal facts. The focus areas for these questions are legal maxims, Indian Constitution, landmark judgments, etc. Let us look at a question to have a better understanding of this question type:
Q. Which among the following was described by Dr. B.R Ambedkar as the “heart and soul of the Constitution of India”?
- Freedom of Religion
- Right to move throughout the territory of India
- Right to Constitutional Remedies
- Right to Equality
Explanation: The right to constitutional remedy was created as one of the main fundamental rights, because the constitution recognized the need to protect the rights of the citizens. In case of any one of the fundamental rights being deprived or denied to the resident of the country, the individual or the party has the right to present their case in a court. In this case, the court has the flexibility to assign writs to the public in the form of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari.
2) Legal G.K: These questions test a student on his/her knowledge of both current as well as static legal G.K. The focus areas remain recent landmark judgments, amendments, law commission appointments and recommendations, Knowledge about the hierarchy of Indian judiciary, etc. Following is a question from Legal G.K. section that came in CLAT 2016:
- Bar Council of India
- Supreme Court of India
- High Court of Delhi
- Ministry of Law and Justice, Govt. of India
Q: Which Indian state has prescribed minimum educational qualification for candidates contesting panchayat polls?
Explanation: In an unprecedented move, preventing illiterate persons from participating in grass roots democracy, Haryana has mandated that only those having “minimum” educational qualifications will be eligible to contest panchayat elections in the State.The other grounds for disqualification from contesting polls under the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015 are failure to pay arrears to any primary agriculture co-operative society or agriculture co-operative banks, failure to pay electricity bill arrears and not having a functional toilet at home.
The level of predictability regarding the question types in the Legal Aptitude Section of CLAT is pretty low as the last couple of years have seen a varying weightage. To ensure an effective preparation, it is necessary to prepare the following areas for the Legal Aptitude Section:
- Legal G.K.
- Miscellaneous Legal Questions (Labour Law, Family Law, Intellectual Property Rights etc.)
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