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Why CLAT application fee is so high

By Dinesh Verma - March 15, 2020

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Written by Arnab Mitra
| New Delhi |

Updated: March 15, 2020 9:48:59 am


CLAT will be conducted on May 10, 2020. Representational Image/ file 

CLAT 2020: In its 2017 report, a committee under the Human Resource Development Ministry (MHRD) had recommended a cap of Rs 1,500 for application forms for the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) held for admission to undergraduate courses in law colleges across the country. CLAT, however, continues to charge Rs 4,000 from candidates. In contrast, other central entrance examinations like JEE Main and NEET charge between Rs 1,000 and 1,500 as registration fees.

The MHRD panel had slammed the CLAT authorities, saying it was making a profit as high as 90 per cent on the application fees.

“The committee strongly feels that the charged CLAT application fees are way above the required finances for the conduct of the examination. CLAT is being conducted for many years now and it is apparent that no attempt has been made to rationalise the fee with the trends of past expenditure,” the committee had said.

However, a consortium of National Law Universities (NLUs) said that the application fee for CLAT is same as that of other law entrance exams — Law School Admission Test (LSAT), and All India Law Entrance Test (AILET). The application fee of LSAT is Rs 3,800, while that of AILET is around Rs 3,050.

The consortium president, Professor Vijay Kumar, said, “Unlike other exam conducting bodies like National Testing Agency, we do not receive grants from the Centre. As the NLUs conduct the examination on their own, so the application fees taken is required to conduct the online examination.”

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Regarding the recommendation of the MHRD panel on reducing the application fee, the NLIU Bhopal VC said that the government did not make any communication in this regard. “We have not received any request for reducing the application fee. The Supreme Court left the matter to MHRD, and if we receive any call from the government regarding the examination conducting the procedure, we will share the details and the reason behind the high application fee,” he said.

The MHRD secretary, Amit Khare, however, said they don’t deal with CLAT. “We don’t deal with CLAT which is organised by National Law University.”

NTA director Vineet Joshi, who was part of the HRD panel, said that the conducting law-entrance examination should not cost as much as it was charged. “The committee found that the application fee was twice than that required and in the report, it recommended the exam conducting bodies — National Law University (NLUs) to lower the slab to Rs 1500,” the director said.

Joshi said the committee was appointed on the direction of the Supreme Court and it had submitted its findings to both MHRD and the apex court. It’s now for the government to recommend the committee’s proposal,” the director said.

Another committee member, IIT-Kanpur Deputy Director Manindra Agrawal, said the panel took all the online entrance examinations at the time of survey including the private one. “The report was made taking into consideration all the online entrance examination conducted by the government and private bodies. The committee also takes into consideration the number of applications, and the module of the law entrance examination,” Agrawal.

Vice-Chancellor of Ranchi’s National University of Study and Research in Law (NUSRL), V Kesava Rao said that the application fees of CLAT, conducted by the individual institution, were high since its inception in 2008. “The application fee of first CLAT conducted by NLSIU Bangalore in 2008 was Rs 2,000, which is now Rs 4,000, increased twice in more than 10 years. Apart from it, the examination conducted in pen-paper format till 2014 which was tuned to online after that.”

“The online entrance examination needs more resources than the offline one,” the VC mentioned. This year, the National University of Study and Research in Law (NUSRL) Ranchi is the nodal agency to conduct the undergraduate and postgraduate law entrance examination.

CLAT will be conducted on May 10, 2020. The examination will have comprehension based questions from Quantitative Techniques, English, Current Affairs, Deductive Reasoning, and Logical Reasoning. It was also resolved to reduce the number of questions from 200 to 120-150.

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Dinesh Verma