Students preparing for the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) next year will have to write the examination in pen and paper mode, different from the online mode conducted in the past four years.
At the consortium of National Law Universities held in Bangalore last week, it was decided to re-introduce the pen and paper mode examination (offline) examination from 2019. CLAT is being held in the online mode from 2015.
In 2015, the Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University (RMLNLU) first conducted the examination in online mode, after which Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala, CNLU Patna and this year, National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi, too conducted the examination in online mode.
The decision to conduct the test offline was taken at the Bangalore meeting attended by vice-chancellors of various universities or their representatives. CNLU VC Justice (retired) Mridula Mishra said: “The decision to conduct CLAT offline was taken so that more and more students can appear for the test.”
Justice Mishra attributed the decision to technical glitches in the CLAT held on May 13 this year to select students for 19 law schools in the country. Many candidates lost around 10 to 15 minutes of exam time owing to technical glitches such as power cuts, log in issues, sudden shutdowns and slow computers.
Later, some law candidates approached the Supreme Court with the plea that they had faced problems logging in and other difficulties based on which the apex court directed the National University of Advanced Legal Studies, which conducted the 2018 exam, to award compensatory marks.
However, the CLAT decision drew mixed reactions from students. Ankit Murarka, a Class XII student preparing for CLAT, said: “The decision is not in the larger interest of students. Agencies which hold competitive exams for IITs and others have introduced the online test. But CLAT, after carrying out the tests online for years, has again moved to the offline mode.”
However, Sandeep Raj, another candidate for the law entrance test, said: “Pen and paper mode of examination is always the best mode of examination, as many students, especially from the rural background who are not proficient with computers, have an edge in the offline test.”