Today’s society places a high value on education, and it is well known that English has taken over in India despite Hindi being one of the two official languages alongside English. The fact that the Flat Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is only given in English furthers this issue. For many people who do not speak English well, this language requirement presents challenges. As the constitution forbids any form of discrimination or denial of equal opportunity in education, such discrimination in India is unacceptable. When a complaint was made against the CLAT consortium for only offering the exam in English without including Hindi or other regional languages as choices, the issue gained more attention. However, the consortium’s answer stated that it is impossible for the time being. This paper will address this issue and explore which articles of the Indian Constitution are infringed upon by the CLAT consortium’s decision. To provide a comprehensive analysis, it is necessary to refer to the Indian Constitution. The Constitution of India, adopted in 1950, enshrines various fundamental rights and principles.
Key Words- CLAT, Discrimination, Education, Indian Constitution, Fundamental Rights.
Every year, India holds a national entrance exam called the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT). The integrated five-year course in Bachelor of Law (LLB) is offered through this exam. Candidates who pass this exam may enroll in several National Law Universities located throughout the nation. In India, there are around 20 National Law Universities.
Reservations and quotas are used in these colleges’ admission procedures for certain kinds of applicants. Many colleges offer student reservations, and many do have state quotas set by the state. Only the English language is used to administer the CLAT exam. English, Legal Reasoning, Logical Reasoning, General Knowledge, and Mathematics make up the five portions of the exam. The question questioned are in English language and each part is followed by five questions. Previously, the CLAT exam had 150 questions in the exam. However, the recent change has reduced the total number of questions to 120. Candidates are given a total of 120 minutes (2 hours) to complete the exam. Every year, India holds a national admission exam called the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT).
- Age Restrictions: There is no maximum age for general, SC, ST, OBC, PWD, NRI, and OCI candidates taking the undergraduate (UG) CLAT.
- Education Requirements: Candidates should have passed the 10+2 exam, or its equivalent, with a minimum grade point average from a recognized board. The minimal requirements can change from year to year and can differ depending on the category (such as General, OBC, SC, ST). A minimum of 40% was previously required for SC/ST candidates and a minimum of 45% for general/OBC/PWD/NRI/OCI candidates.:
CLAT does not have any specific subject requirements. Students from any stream (Science, Arts, Commerce) can apply for the exam, provided they meet the educational qualification criteria mentioned above.
- Syllabus: The official announcement or booklet made public by the conducting organization typically contains all the information about the syllabus. Regarding the accessibility of sample papers, entrance tests like CLAT frequently make sample papers or previous years’ question papers available to candidates so they can better grasp the exam format and prepare. These papers can provide insight into the types of questions that will be asked on the test, but they shouldn’t be relied upon as the only preparation tool.
My Research paper is descriptive and based on secondary sources, it has a deep analysis of CLAT examination and issues related to it. The research talk about the reason of less registration in exam cannoting toward the language issue of the CLAT exam. The sources includes online resources, websites. My research is based on elaborative and discribtive understanding.
Review of literature
To write a well researched papers I had to deeply understand the intricacies of CLAT, examination. Various articles like article 14, Article 15, Article 19 protects any discrimination based on education. Reading several international treaties for the protection all discrimination based on education. The case analysis of the recent PIL insighted towards some arguments.
Affordability Makes Many Setbacks For Student:
Even though state governments created NLUs, this does not necessarily imply that students receive free or full funding for them. Tuition fees and other educational expenses might vary greatly between NLUs and can be rather expensive, making it impossible for middle-class or lower-class families to afford. Students from low-income households who want to be in NLUs indeed face obstacles because of high tuition costs. The fact that it seems to favor those who can afford the fees and take admission and the other it is unjust to others. It is significant to highlight, however, that several factors, including infrastructure, faculty salaries, library facilities, and other operational costs, contribute to the price of education at NLUs. These organizations work hard to uphold their academic standards. This problem is being addressed, and efforts are being made to increase the accessibility of legal education. Initiatives like scholarships, financial aid plans, and reservation laws are some examples of ways to help students from underprivileged backgrounds complete their legal education. Additionally, to lessen the financial load on students, several NLUs provide fee waivers or payment plans. It’s crucial to look into these possibilities and learn about any available financial aid and scholarships.
Achieving equal access to high-quality education for everyone is important since it is a key component of societal development. It is envisaged that continuous efforts to advocate for affordable education and the adoption of inclusive policies would have a positive impact on the accessibility and cost of legal education at NLUs.
Clat Consortium In Legal Turmoil:
The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2024 has been brought up in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that the Delhi High Court has announced. According to the PIL, the exam must also be given in Hindi and the six regional languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. The Consortium of National Law Universities, the Bar Council of India, and the Center have all received notices from the Division Bench, which is made up of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad. They have set a hearing and requested responses from them within four weeks.
The petitioner, Sudhanshu Pathak, a law student at Delhi University, has argued that English-medium schools have an advantage over schools operating in Hindi or other regional languages. The petitioner claims that in a highly competitive exam like CLAT, students from non-English medium schools are linguistically disadvantaged as they have to overcome the additional hurdle of learning and mastering a new language. The petition argues that CLAT does not provide a level playing field for students from regional language educational backgrounds.
The petition highlights that the New Education Policy, 2020, and the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, emphasize the use of the mother tongue as the medium of instruction in schools and higher education institutions. The petitioner argues that it is unfortunate that CLAT only allows English as the medium of examination, which deprives a significant number of students who have studied in their regional or native languages of pursuing law as a course of study (5 years LLB). The petition contends that conducting CLAT (UG) only in English is arbitrary and discriminatory, violating Articles 14 and 29(2) of the Constitution of India, which ensure equality before the law and protect the rights of minorities to preserve their language, script, or culture.
It is high time for the system to revolutionize so that people who dream to study at these prestigious NLUs don’t even think once to get registered themselves in the exam. It also cannot towards India’s inefficient behavior that the national exam in India are not conducted in the Hindi language, a language for which India is known.
Education In Moneyhanders:
The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), an entrance exam for admission to prominent law schools in India, advantages applicants from wealthy families due to the value placed on English language proficiency. As the CLAT tests multiple components of language understanding, such as reading comprehension, grammar, and vocabulary, English proficiency is indeed essentialṣ. It is crucial to remember that the CLAT measures a variety of abilities in addition to English proficiency, including logical reasoning, legal acumen, and general awareness.
While it may be easier for students from English-medium schools or privileged backgrounds to have exposure to English as their primary mode of communication, it does mean that students from middle-class households or non-English medium schools are inherently at a disadvantage. Students from diverse backgrounds can develop strong English language skills through various means, such as self-study, coaching centers, online resources, or language improvement programs.
Additionally, it is worth noting that Mathematics and English subjects are also important components of the CLAT examination. While they may be taught, the level of understanding and proficiency in these subjects can still vary among students, regarding their socioeconomic backgrounds, a middle-class student might not get the exposure that a high-class student gets. To guarantee equal chances for all students, it is essential to address the problem of elitism in education. Students from various backgrounds, including those who lack access to English as their primary language of communication, should get high-quality instruction and resources. This can entail putting in place inclusive policies, giving support networks, and providing equal chances for skill development and CLAT preparation.
Ultimately, creating a level playing field in education requires recognizing and addressing the underlying social and economic disparities that contribute to elitism, while also acknowledging the importance of individual effort and dedication in overcoming such challenges.
Lower Registration In Clat Than Other Exam Like Jee, Neet
It is an important point regarding the language barrier in the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) and its effect on students. CLAT is primarily conducted in English, which can pose challenges for students who are not fluent or comfortable with the language. We all see that the number of registration in CLAT are much lower than the other exams like Jee and Neet. In the year 2023, the number of registration in the CLAT exam was around 60 thousand whereas the number of registration in the NEET exam was around 21 lakh. Here’s an elaboration on how this language barrier could contribute to lower registrations for CLAT:
- Limited Proficiency in English: English language ability is essential for comprehending and successfully responding to CLAT questions. Students from regional language backgrounds or those who did not have a solid English education and find it challenging to understand the exam’s questions, directions, and passages. This language barrier may negatively affect their performance and deter them from signing up for the CLAT.
- Differential Access to Quality English Education: In India, there may be differences in the amount and caliber of English education offered in various states and institutions of higher learning. It could be more difficult for students to understand the intricacies of the language needed for the CLAT if they have had not enough exposure to English language study. Due to the discrepancy in the availability of high-quality English education, fewer students may feel secure enough to sign up for the CLAT.
- Cultural and Linguistic Comfort: Some students might find it easier to express themselves and do well on tests given in their native tongue. The fact that the CLAT is only offered in English may cause some people to feel uncomfortable and unfamiliar, which could reduce the number of people who sign up.
- Translation Challenges: Although the CLAT is primarily a test of legal aptitude, logical reasoning, and understanding abilities, it also tests English grammar and comprehension. It can be difficult to accurately translate these elements into regional languages without losing the original meaning. This may be the reason that the CLAT is only offered in English, but it also presents an additional challenge for students who are not fluent in the language.
- Perception of Difficulty: For students who are not fluent in English, the language barrier can make CLAT seem more difficult. This idea might discourage some students from signing up for the CLAT, particularly if they think that their weak English proficiency might put them at a disadvantage compared to applicants who speak the language more fluently.
Compared with other exams like NEET, JEE has a prescribed syllabus and the sample paper are too released on time whereas the CLAT consortium lag in. These exams take place in both Hindi and English language whereas CLAT doesn’t. This led to more registration in JEE, and NEET than CLAT.
As a result, students who are not fluent in English may be discouraged from taking the CLAT because it is predominantly done in English. Students may believe CLAT to be more difficult and choose to take tests offered in their regional languages as a result, which could explain the lower registration numbers.
Various articles prohibit any discrimination in education, as we all see that language does create hinders in once life, not everyone is proficient in speaking English language, a country like India where Hindi and English both are the official language but the exam CLAT takes place only in English language making it difficult for the children who lack in English language. The articles are addressed under
- International Conventions:
a. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): Article 26.
b. International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR): Article 13.
c. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC): Article 28.
d. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW): Article 10.
e. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): Article 24.
These are just a few examples, and different countries may have different provisions in their respective constitutions.
These highlight international instruments that address equal rights in education. However, specific constitutions or national legislation may provide additional provisions related to non-discrimination and equal rights in education. It’s important to refer to the relevant legal framework of a particular country to understand the specific articles that address the infringement of equal rights in education within that context.
In the Indian Constitution, several articles relate to the right to education and the prohibition of discrimination. Here are some key articles that address equal rights in education and their infringement-
- Indian Constitution
Article 14: Right to Equality – This article ensures equality before the law and prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. Conducting an examination only in English may create a barrier for individuals who are not proficient in the language, thereby potentially violating the principle of equality.
Article 15: Prohibition of Discrimination – Article 15 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. Denying candidates the opportunity to take the CLAT in their regional language or Hindi could be seen as discriminatory, as it excludes a significant portion of the population who may not have English proficiency.
Article 19: Right to Freedom – Article 19 guarantees several freedoms, including the right to practice any profession or occupation. By restricting the CLAT exam to English, individuals who are more proficient in their regional language or Hindi may be denied the opportunity to pursue a legal profession, potentially infringing upon their right to freedom.
Article 21: Right to Life and Personal Liberty – Article 21 protects the right to life and personal liberty. The denial of equal opportunities in education, as exemplified by the language barrier in the CLAT exam, may infringe upon the right to livelihood and personal development, which are integral to an individual’s life and liberty.
These are some of the key articles in the Indian Constitution that address equal rights in education. Any violation or infringement of these articles would require legal scrutiny and intervention to ensure the protection of individuals’ right to education without discrimination.
The article as well as the international conventions supports right to education and also restrain any discriminations. The NLU’s should take the initiative of conducting the exam in multi languages, if the exam is been conducted in multiple language like in regional language and Hindi language that will subsequently increase the number of candidates giving the exams.
The government should also overseas the high fees in the respective NLUs, every semester there is an hike in the fee structure of the university. These are some of the problems which restrain a person from entering the prestige NLUs for which many students work hard and burn the midnight oil to get successfully in the universities.
Significant issues have been brought up regarding the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) and related matters. The current environment appears to be creating obstacles for students who do not speak English well, reducing their prospects of passing the exam and enrolling in prominent Indian law schools. Further restricting access to legal education are at the National Law Universities (NLUs) because of expensive fee systems, which add to the financial pressure on Indian middle-class households.
The CLAT exam’s linguistic barrier for non-English speakers begs the question of inclusion and equal opportunity. Given that Hindi is spoken by the majority of people in India and that English is the language of instruction, it is crucial to take this into account when creating these exams. The CLAT unintentionally disadvantages people who are not fluent in English by not offering the exam in regional or Hindi languages. Fewer registrations may result from this, which may result in a lack of diversity in the legal profession. Access to legal education is also further hampered by the expensive registration costs levied by NLUs. Many Indian families from the middle class may not be able to afford the price of about 4,000 INR. This financial obstacle exacerbates the difficulties already faced by students from disadvantaged origins and maintains inequity in the field of legal education.
These issues of language discrimination and financial barriers not only violate the principles of the Indian Constitution but also go against international conventions that aim to prevent discrimination in education. Equal access to education is a fundamental right, and it is essential to address these concerns and ensure a fair and inclusive system.
Name – Divya choudhary
College Name- National University of study and research in law, Ranchi.
 Jelsyna Chacko, Sky-rocketing law school fees: A trend towards exclusion, Bae and Bench, ( Jun, 12, 2023, 07:21 a.m.) https://www.barandbench.com/amp/story/columns/sky-rocketing-law-school-fees-a-trend-towards-exclusion .
 Anmol Rohilla, Delhi High Court Issue Notice in PIL Seeking Directions To Conduct CLAT 2024 In English and Regional Language, LAWBEAT, (Mar, 16, 2023, 11:15 a.m.) https://lawbeat.in/news-updates/delhi-high-court-issues-notice-pil-seeking-direction-conduct-clat-2024-english-and-regional-languages
 Team Careers, CLAT exam ‘elitist’, favours ‘rich, privileged, urban’ student: A reader responds, (Jan, 23, 2023, 02:30 p.m.) https://news.careers360.com/clat-exam-elitist-rich-privileged-law-college-nlu-consortium-admission-reader-opinion
 Universal Declaration of Human Right, 1948, Art. 26.
 International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR),1976, Art.13.
 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC),1989, Art.28.
 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW),1979, Art.10.
 Indian Const., Art. 14.
 Indian Const., Art. 15.
 Indian Const., Art. 19.
 Indian Const., Art. 21.