Author: Manav Kothary, law student at the United World School of Law, Karnavati University
An arduous odyssey: Voyage of a Law aspirant from 27-05-2019 till 28-09-2020
CLAT 2020 was not evaluating the skills pinned down by them in an incredulous guide released on 22nd-March-2020 by the Consortium. Rather, students were made analogous to a Periplaneta in the hands of neophyte experimental dissectors.
The show starts:
It was November 2019 when the honorable Vice-chancellor of NALSAR had changed the CLAT pattern and released two videos explaining their motive that was to examine the comprehensive skills in contrast to the knowledge being tested till date. They just went ahead with this feel-good idea without any spadework and prepense. Questions were reduced from 200 (8,000 words approx) to 150 (20,000 words approx). He said 3-4 months of persevered elbow grease would be enough to crack CLAT 2020.
The newfangled CLAT would have an entire passage based question-answer style with no need of prior knowledge except for Current affairs section.
“We will not check how many synonyms you know; how time and distance questions will be solved rather the aspirants will get graph; you are coming to learn legal from us, so Legal Aptitude will be substituted with deductive reasoning; Basic general knowledge questions will be ostracized which include constitutional or history or geography or questions from different disciplines”, he said.
The CLAT president changed and this reflected on the new pattern once again. Till one month, the tent of preparation of the aspirants rested on vague bamboos.
On 26th December 2019, few sample questions, based on scanty topics were released and it did not include any Grammar questions or Analytical reasoning questions but time and distance, constitutional questions, vocabulary in an indirect form was asked. Deductive reasoning was replaced once again with Legal Reasoning all because Rev Faizan Mustafa sir was no more the president of the consortium.
Recollect why we lost the battle of 1857. It was because of the lack of synthesis.
By the last week of January 2020, the first sample paper notwithstanding the video was released. It was a bit more than a bit tough. Analytical Reasoning upto 7 marks was asked.
On 22nd March 2020, a shonky guide with the penultimate sample paper was released, with grammar and direct vocabulary questions. Analytical reasoning of upto 7 marks with some errors was released and the hindmost sample paper was released by the first week of April 2020.
NOTE: Till the release of third sample paper CLAT 2020 was scheduled on 10th-May-2020, which means the drastic change in the paper pattern and the equivocal clarification for preparation came after 5 months of the changed pattern that too when only 30-40 days were left.
There was no preparation by the consortium, no possible structure keeping nose to the grindstone for 3-4 months as we were dreeing an awful weird.
In the midst of the boiling thar desert:
“Give us some fluid or else we will die before our exam” – one of the two preservers, being lethargic because of a constant run towards his new exam center, i.e, a sand-dune.
“See I have two bottles one of water(1ltr) and another of felix felisis (liquid luck,1ml)“- the only insolent shopkeeper in the desert to help all the aspirants, who are more than his knowledge of numbers.
Both of the preservers grabbed their fate of luck or survival. One wrote the exam and the other died of dehydration. Felix was so brilliant that had he not got dehydrated, he could have come AIR 1, but actually the water grabbed the opportunity to learn the field he had chosen on the seat of felix.
Moral: The preference should be given to life rather exuberant protocols (only) on paper.
This story can be the story of dedicated aspirants, if one writes the exam. So, an aspirant should very well acknowledge the postponement but another deficient preparation example is:
In CLAT 2020, as per media reports, as many as 75,183 candidates applied to attempt for CLAT 2020, wherein 68,833 candidates had downloaded the CLAT admit cards, 86.20% candidates appeared for the examination conducted across 300 examination centers which was postponed 6 times in juxtapose with JEE (as per media reports, as many as 6.35 lakh candidates appeared), NEET exam (as per media reports, as many as 13, 66,945 students appeared), both of which were postponed just twice.
First, from 10th April 2020 to 21st May 2020, there were 41 days for preparation. By May to 21st June 2020, there were 35 days approximately.
By June to TO_BE_ANNOUNCED_ON_1st-July-2020, there were 35 days approximately, giving 21 days prior notice which means a serious CLAT aspirant would assume that CLAT 2020 will be conducted on 21st July 2020.
By July, the consortium announced that CLAT 2020 would be held as an online computer based comprehensive based test, not as an offline comprehensive based test.
Meanwhile on 24th-July-2020, a second mock test for UG CLAT 2020 was released which had a CALCULATOR in it till the ultimate mock test and none of the mock tests of all the repeated questions gave us marks which may elucidate the new version of defense.
No matter, picture abhi baaki hai!
On 1st July 2020, CLAT was to be conducted on 22nd August 2020 (53 days). On 5th August 2020, a new notification came “CLAT to be announced until further with no such clause of 21 days” and nowhere could someone cite it wrong, if CLAT 2020 would be announced today and conducted tomorrow.
On 10th August 2020, it was to be held on 7th September 2020 (27 days).
On 28th August 2020 ,it was postponed to 28th September 2020 (30 days).
Again the story has a pretzel:
On 3rd September 2020, at night, NLSIU segregated itself from the consortium to conduct its separate entrance exam, NLAT (despite censures and with a chalk and cheese pattern) which ended in smoke.
On 12th September 2020, giving logically just a week, an online home-based, luck-based, below the belt and glitch-friendly exam was conducted where to no one’s surprise many students faced technical difficulties. For them, just 13 hours prior, an email was sent for re-conduct of NLAT 2020. The paper of the re-conduct exam got blabbed.
NLAT 2020, which had squandered 10 days of an aspirant on the minimum, was called off by our honorable Supreme Court on 21st September 2020.
On 22nd September 2020 (just 6 days before the D-day), a new notification came that no calculator would be provided as it had not been provided till 2019. They had gone astray that the exam pattern till from 2019 carried a herculean change.
On 28th September 2020, finally, THE_CLAT_2020 was conducted which was totally inconsistent with the sample papers, the dubious guide and video. No Grammar was there. Analytical Reasoning only of 2 marks were there. The Prior Knowledge in Legal Reasoning section (which was not testing it) was tested.
Prior Knowledge in the General Knowledge section (which was testing it) was scarcely tested, rather opinions and comprehensive subjective questions were asked. In the evening of 28th September 2020 a press note was released which shows that the CLAT aspirants were the recipients of the consortium’s grace. 16 questions were raised as objections (another actual reason for embarrassment).
On 30th September 2020, the carbon copy of the answer key was released (absolutely free from any peccadilloes as claimed by Rev Faizan Mustafa sir in an interview published on 2nd October 2020). For most of the aspirants, it was full of Achilles heel.
There were questions marked but not taken into account; there were questions not marked but taken into account. Some candidates were experiencing deficits in marks for which an absolutely ludicrous reason was given by the consortium. A critical analysis of the obvious instructions for all the online competitive exams was expected that too in the span of mental tranquility. Some candidates were even experiencing a surplus in marks for which no defense has been produced yet.
On 2nd-October-2020, Rev Prof Faizan Mustafa, in an interview, instead of giving concrete assurance, said that students must sue them as a means of recourse. He must have forgotten that like NLSIU, many NLUs are longing to fill their empty chairs. Even if the aspirants won the litigation but after the admissions are closed will the aspirants get any room? (Recollect CLAT 2018)
If the collective whims and fancies of the some authoritative authorities are disgruntled, then fair enough why Common Law Admission Test, the courts across India shall allot us colleges.
The consortium members should understand the relevance of their position is it despondency with the futures in their hands or moral obligation? They should look at how the carbon copies were affected due to malfunctioning and give assurance beyond reasonable doubt. For all the aspirants, CLAT 2020 was not the exam of competence, rather it was testing patience by experimenting the ways to test it.
Pre-COVID lockdown, they were unprepared and after the CLAT exam, they became deaf listeners. It is a field which assures grace and dignity to all the citizens but it is a pity to say that the controllers of Islands of excellence are doing nothing but actions to disgrace it. Beat student future, her/his dashed hope, her/his aspirations or parent’s aspiration; beat thousands of years or incessant hard-work; beat a responsible position followed by unrepentant pride; beat a commitment to secure justice irrespective of anything; beat Kakistocracy, but it’s CLAT for you. Consortium’s picture from the album of 2018 is nowhere cryptic but it is fruitless to become lachrymose now. So, let the bygones be bygones.