The Consortium of National Law Universities has made some modifications in the pattern of the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), 2020. So, herein, in this article, we intend to clear all your queries about Legal Reasoning for CLAT 2020.
1. Legal Reasoning for CLAT – Full Details
Here, we will apprise you of the changes in the pattern:
- Weightage of the Legal Reasoning section in the exam.
- Approach for Legal Reasoning for CLAT.
- Topics one should read for Legal Reasoning.
- Tips to solve Legal Reasoning for CLAT 2020.
- Sample questions for practicing Legal Reasoning for CLAT 2020.
1.1 Legal Reasoning – New pattern:
The new pattern of the UG-CLAT 2020 aims at evaluating the comprehension and reasoning aptitude of the candidates. On the whole, CLAT 2020 Exam would be more of a test of aptitude and skills that are necessary for a legal education than prior knowledge. In Legal Reasoning for CLAT 2020, the consortium intends to test you for the skills and aptitude that you require to gain legal education.
Of a total of 150 questions, the Legal Reasoning Section will contain around 35-39 questions or roughly 25% of the paper. The section will consist of passages relating to legal matters and will present both principles and facts. Unlike in previous years’ papers, the exam will not be present to you with separate facts and principles. You will first have to read the passage and then identify the principles and facts on your own. The section will require you to answer questions based on the principles and facts set out in the passage. It may provide a different set of facts or a hypothetical situation to which the principles in the passage apply.
1.2 How to approach the Legal Reasoning for CLAT:
Below are a few tips that will help you while preparing for Legal Reasoning for CLAT 2020:
- To start with one must read a lot of articles and keep oneself updated with various static and current legal issues. The consortium does not expect you to have any prior legal knowledge, but aware of the contemporary legal and moral issues will help you to better apply general principles or propositions to the given scenarios.
- Since the section will be more like passage-comprehension now, one should focus on improving their comprehension and reading skills.
- Read the editorials of newspapers like The Hindu, Economic Times, Financial Express, etc. There are several websites, like https://www.livelaw.in/, https://www.latestlaws.com/, https://www.barandbench.com/, etc., which you can refer to, to keep yourself updated with various the landmark and important cases. Knowledge of these will give you an edge in your preparation and help you in understanding the passages easily while also applying the laws/principles to various fact situations. You will also get an insight into how changes to these rules or principles may alter their application to various fact situations. This will increase the pace at which you solve the questions.
- Though the pattern of UG CLAT 2020 has changed and is somewhat different from previous years’ papers, you should still practice previous papers. They may not train you in acquiring the skill of deriving principles and facts from a given passage, but these questions help you in understanding the principles, analysing them, and then applying them to a different set of conditions/facts.
- Now the question is how and where one can practise the new pattern questions. The answer is quite straight forward: Our mocks and our CLAT dedicated telegram channel (Here we provide with various concept videos for all the sections, daily current affairs and all the latest updates of the exam)
1.3 Most Important Topics:
We would want to reiterate, though the exam does not intend to test your legal knowledge, keeping oneself aware of various static and current legal proceedings will help you in understanding the passages faster and better.
We suggest you read a lot of articles on legal issues. You can follow the sites mentioned above. Also, you can follow our website for daily GK updates.
Reading these issues will also help you in other sections like Logical Reasoning and English language sections, as these sections are also comprehension based.
1.4 Tips to score well in the Legal Reasoning section in the exam:
- Always read the passage very carefully, focus on details, and segregate the principle and the facts. Spend no more than 5-6 mins in reading one passage.
- After you have read the passage, read through questions one by one carefully. Then try to relate these questions with the principles and facts given in the passage.
- Always stick to what has been mentioned in the passage. DO NOT apply your knowledge of the law to solve any of the questions. Doing this may lead you to mark incorrect answers in the examination. A law school does not expect one to be a lawyer before taking admission into that school/college. So, be very careful about sticking to the author’s view.
- Last but not the least, practice is the key! You should practise a lot of questions/mocks so that you get to know your strengths and weaknesses and at the same time learn time management for the actual exam. Mocks provide you with real-time exam experience. They are a great source of managing time and forming strategies to attempt the real exam.
1.5 Legal Reasoning for CLAT: Sample Practice Questions:
Criminal defamation is in news recently for multiple reasons. Questions have been raised on whether defamation should be treated as a civil wrong or criminal offense or both. It is argued that criminalizing defamation has a harsh effect on the right to freedom of speech and expression provided under article 19. There are many demands to make defamation only as a civil wrong. However, the Supreme Court’s recent judgment upholding Sections 499 and 500 of the IPC as constitutionally valid has received wide attention, including visible, vibrant, sometimes even vicious criticism. In this article, we analyse the ‘Criminal Defamation’ in India. What does the Indian Penal Code (IPC) say about defamation? IPC Section 499 lays down the definition of defamation and Section 500 lays down the punishment for criminal defamation.
Section 499: Defamation – Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter expected, to defame that person. A person found guilty of defamation under the civil law can pay damages as set by the court as a penalty, but a person found guilty under the criminal will end up in jail. Section 499 also cites exceptions. These include “imputation of truth” which is required for the “public good” and thus has to be published, on the public conduct of government officials, the conduct of any person touching any public question and merits of the public performance.
Explanation 1: It may amount to defamation to impute anything to a deceased person if the imputation would harm the reputation of that person if living and is intended to be hurtful to the feelings of his family or other near relatives.
Explanation 2: No imputation is said to harm a person’s reputation, unless that imputation directly or indirectly, in the estimation of others, lowers the moral or intellectual character of that person, or lowers the character of that person in respect of his caste or of his calling, or lowers the credit of that person, or causes it to be believed that the body of that person is in a loathsome state, or in a state generally considered as disgraceful.
Sections 499-500 IPC do not constitute a “reasonable restriction” on speech, as commented by many because, to begin with, even truth is not a defence. Even if a person has spoken the truth, he can be prosecuted for defamation. Under the first exception to section 499, the truth will only be a defence if the statement was made for the public good, which is a question of fact to be assessed by the court.
This is an arbitrary and overbroad rule that deters people from making statements regarding politicians or political events even which they know to be true because they run the risk of a court not finding the statement to be for the public good. It must be noted that for defamation to be criminally prosecuted there must be the existence of an intention to harm or having the knowledge that such statements can be injurious to the reputation of the person concerned.
Q.1 A prominent journalist working for a major media publication published a post on her social media profile accusing a prominent politician of sexual misconduct several years ago. The politician filed a case accusing her of defaming his reputation. Will the case proceed or be quashed?
a) The case will be quashed as true statements do not come under defamation.
b) The case will proceed as she had publicly accused him, and it will definitely harm his reputation.
c) The case will not proceed due to the “imputation of truth” exception in the law.
d) The case will proceed as he is a powerful politician and can use his influence.
Q.2 Priya Pillai is a campaigner with Greenpeace India. Pillai and Greenpeace India have been supporting tribal villages in the Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh as opposed to the Mahan coal mine, which threatens a large forest area that many thousands depend on for their livelihoods. Mahan, the proposed mining project is led by Essar, a London-based company. She discovered many wrongdoings within the mining project and made public her views. The Essar group sued her for defamation and seek monetary compensation for the damages. Which of the following situations are more likely to ensue?
a) The court will proceed with the case and start an investigation.
b) The defamation case will be dismissed.
c) The court will award monetary compensation to the company.
d) The court will quash the case as these cases lead to a situation in which people are discouraged from expressing their opinions freely as it could lead to legal action.
Q.3 Some people believe that the defamation law should be quashed in India. Some believe that it should be made a civil offence. You are a criminal lawyer and you believe that this offence should stay a criminal offence also. What is the most logical argument to support this stand?
a) Currently, the law favours protecting the right to reputation over the right to free speech and a new law may actually be the best way to fix the situation.
b) Since India does not have a strong law to deter those who levy false charges and sully someone’s well-earned reputation, they should not get away with a mere civil case of defamation.
c) Vexatious criminal defamation proceedings are initiated against journalists and activists with the single aim of stifling the voices of opposition.
d) Public servants and constitutional functionaries cannot be allowed to misuse the law of criminal defamation by using the State as a tool to initiate defamation proceedings against adversaries.
Q.4 Mr. Deshmukh, the former MLA of city XYZ died last year due to natural causes leaving no family members. He had no known relatives. Rakesh, the newly elected MLA, made a public speech lambasting and criticising the former MLA Mr. Deshmukh. He also gave some derogatory remarks. Naveen, the MLA candidate from the opposing party wanted to take advantage of the situation and filed a defamation case against Rakesh for this incident. Will the case proceed? A possibility along with a reason is given below in each of the options. Choose the most appropriate answer.
a) The case will proceed, as Rakesh’s speech was derogatory.
b) The case will not proceed, as Mr. Deshmukh is not alive.
c) The case will proceed, as defamation is a personal wrong.
d) The case will not proceed as Naveen is neither a family member nor a relative of Mr. Deshmukh.
Q.5 Panna Lal, the accused had put up a poster during an election contest against his competitor who was a barrister which stated: “The hollowness of Mr. X’s capacity as a barrister has been exposed.” Mr. X filed a case and the court held the accused to be guilty of defamation. Which of the following could have been the reason for the court’s judgment?
a) He had hurt the sentiment of his family members
b) The poster lowered the intellectual qualities of the complainant after his aptitude as a barrister was attacked
c) The statement made by Panna Lal was for the public good
d) It was proved that Panna Lal had unintentionally made that statement and hurt the sentiment of Mr. X
Q.6 Mr. Y was found guilty of criminal defamation. Which of the following can possibly be the next chain of events?
a) He will have to pay a fine
b) He will be imprisoned
c) He will be imprisoned as well as fined
d) He will be sent to judicial remand
ANSWER KEY AND EXPLANATION SET 1:
The law says that “whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter expected, to defame that person”. Her accusation might or might not be true (eliminating option A) and that will be investigated as the case proceed but under this section, the defamation case will surely proceed.
Option C is incorrect as per this provision of the defamation law- “under the first exception to section 499, the truth will only be a defence if the statement was made for the public good, which is a question of fact to be assessed by the court.” Option D is not related to legal facts hence eliminated. Option B is the correct answer.
As she had made her views public and one might think that it was for the public good, but it has to be investigated and proved whether this was the case or not. Without investigation, the court can neither dismiss the case nor imprison anyone, but the case will proceed for sure. Option D might sound logical if you think from an emotional point of view, but the law looks at facts and provisions and goes ahead with the proceeding accordingly. No monetary damage can be awarded without investigation. Option A is the correct answer.
The statements mentioned in option A, C, and D all are in support of either reforming or removing the defamation laws. It points out some negative characteristics of the law. The question statement asks for a supporting statement in favour of defamation being considered a criminal offence too. Option B is the correct answer as it provides a good logical point for why this offence should continue being a criminal offence.
The section applicable for the defamation caused to a deceased person say that: It may amount to defamation to impute anything to a deceased person, if the imputation would harm the reputation of that person if living, and is intended to be hurtful to the feelings of his family or other near relatives. As Mr. Deshmukh did not have any family members or known relatives, the requirement for the case to proceed under this provision does not meet. Option D is the correct answer
Statement C and D provide statements that should have led to Panna Lal’s acquittal. The passage in the last sentence tells us that ‘It must be noted that for defamation to be criminally prosecuted there must be the existence of an intention to harm or having the knowledge that such statements can be injurious to the reputation of the person concerned’. Option A is applicable in the case of a deceased person. Option B is the correct answer.
It is mentioned in the passage that a person found guilty of defamation under the civil law can pay damages as set by the court as a penalty, but a person found guilty under the criminal will end up in jail. Option B is the correct answer.
Judiciary, being the sentinel of constitutional statutory rights of citizens has a special role to play in the constitutional scheme. It can review legislation and administrative actions or decisions on the anvil of constitutional law. For the enforcement of fundamental rights, one has to move the Supreme Court or the High Courts directly by invoking Writ Jurisdiction of these courts. But the high cost and complicated procedure involved in litigation, however, make equal access to jurisdiction in mere slogan in respect of millions of destitute and underprivileged masses stricken by poverty, illiteracy, and ignorance. The Supreme Court of India pioneered the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) thereby throwing upon the portals of courts to the common man.
Till the 1960s and seventies, the concept of litigation in India was still in its rudimentary form and was seen as a private pursuit for the vindication of private vested interests. Litigation in those days consisted mainly of some action initiated and continued by certain individuals, usually, addressing their own grievances/problems. Thus, the initiation and continuance of litigation was the prerogative of the injured person or the aggrieved party. Even this was greatly limited by the resources available to those individuals. There were very little organized efforts or attempts to take up wider issues that affected classes of consumers or the general public at large.
However, this entire scenario changed during the Eighties with the Supreme Court of India led the concept of Public Interest Litigation (PIL). The Supreme Court of India gave all individuals in the country and the newly formed consumer groups or social action groups, easier access to the law and introduced in their work a broad public interest perspective.
In 1981 Justice P. N. Bhagwati in S. P. Gupta v. Union of India, firmly established the Validity of the Public interest litigation as follows, “where a legal wrong or a legal injury is caused to a person or to a determinate class of persons by reason of a violation of the constitutional or legal right of any burden is imposed and such person or economically disadvantaged position unable to approach the Court for relief, any member of public Can maintain an application for an appropriate direction, order or writ in the Courts to seek Judicial redress. Since then, through its Various rulings, the Supreme Court has evolved rules related to the PIL.
Through the Concept of PIL, the traditional rule of “Locus Standi” that a person, whose right is infringed alone Can file a petition; it has been considerably relaxed by the Supreme Court. Now, the Court permits Public interest litigation at the instance of the So-Called “public-spirited citizens” for the enforcement of Constitutional and Legal rights. Public interest litigation can be filed only in that case where any “public interest” is affected at large. Because if only one person is affected then that is not a ground for filing PIL.
Any Indian citizen or organisation can move the court for a public interest/cause by filing a petition:
In the Supreme Court Under Article 32 of the Constitution of India.
In the High Court Under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution.
In the Court of Magistrate Under Section 133 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The Supreme Court has also acted on the basis of letters received from aggrieved persons, journalists, lawyers, and Social workers and even on the basis of newspaper reports.
Q.1 Vishakha, a poor uneducated woman, wanted to work which few people in her village did not like. They did not want a woman to engage in a job of any kind. However, Vishakha knew her fundamental rights and she wanted to move the Court for the enforcement of fundamental rights of working women under Articles 14, 19(1)(g) (the right to practice one’s profession, etc.) and 21. What should have Vishakha done in order to approach the top Court?
a) Vishakha can only move the high court by invoking the Writ Jurisdiction of the courts.
b) Vishakha can only move the Supreme Court by invoking the Writ Jurisdiction of the courts.
c) Vishakha should approach an NGO to file a Public Interest Litigation on her behalf.
d) Vishakha should file a criminal intimidation case in any court.
Q.2 X, a person of village Y, filed a PIL in the Court. Which of the following situation could have made him file the PIL?
a) Where some “Banquet Hall” plays loud music in the daytime.
b) A Company having more than a hundred employees working in a coal mine.
c) Where a large MNC is operating a factory which is causing huge air pollution in the village and affecting the health of the people.
d) Person X having a bitter dispute with person Z who does not seem to agree with his opinions.
Q.3 The Haryana Provision disqualified “a person having more than two living children” from holding specified offices in panchayats. The objective of this two-child norm was to popularize family planning. However, a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the Haryana government. Which of the following provides the most suitable ground upon which the PIL would have been filed?
a) They considered it to be a violation of their right to gender equality which is already an issue in Haryana.
b) They considered it to be an important law that will popularise family planning.
c) They considered it to be a coercive law that disqualified persons having more than two living children after a certain date from holding certain public offices in the Panchayat.
d) Because it affected one local man because he had more than two living children.
Q.4 Kunal is a social worker who is working for increasing education awareness among the people of the village. The village has a custom of child labour. Kunal approaches multiple authorities regarding this but none help him. He decides to file a PIL in the High Court. Will his PIL be accepted in the High Court?
a) No, as he can only file a PIL in the Supreme Court under article 32 of the constitution.
b) No, because he is not the parent or even a relative of the aggrieved children.
c) Yes, because anyone can file a PIL on anyone’s behalf in any level of Court in India.
d) Yes, because he is a social worker and social workers have special rights when it comes to filing PILs.
Q.5 Parmanand Katara, a human rights activist, filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court. His basis was a newspaper report concerning the death of a scooterist after an accident with a speeding car. Doctors refused to attend to him. They directed him to another hospital around 20 km away that could handle medico-legal cases. The activist wanted this system to change as it ends up taking the lives of many people. Will his petition be accepted in the Supreme Court?
a) No, as his petition was based on a newspaper report.
b) Yes, as any person can file a PIL where any “public interest” is being affected at large.
c) No, as it was an incident that concerned doctors and police and there was no role for the Court to play in it.
d) Yes, because it had risked the life of the scooterist.
ANSWER KEY AND EXPLANATION SET 2:
The first paragraph mentions that: “for the enforcement of fundamental rights, one has to move the Supreme Court or the High Courts directly by invoking Writ Jurisdiction of these courts. But the high cost and complicated procedure involved in litigation, however, make equal access to jurisdiction in mere slogan in respect of millions of destitute and underprivileged masses stricken by poverty, illiteracy, and ignorance.”
As the process is complicated and expensive, Vishakha being a poor uneducated woman cannot go with these methods. Also, she can move any Court to invoke writ jurisdiction; it is not limited to only Supreme Court or High court. Thus options A and B are incorrect. The passage does not mention any criminal intimidation procedure neither it is mentioned that she was criminally intimidated hence D is incorrect. The best option in this scenario for her is to approach someone, like an NGO, to file a PIL on her behalf for enforcement of her fundamental rights. It is mentioned in the third paragraph that “…and such person or economically disadvantaged position unable to approach the Court for relief, any member of public Can maintain an application for an appropriate direction, order or writ in the Courts. Option C is the correct answer.
It is mentioned in the passage that “Public interest litigation can be filed only in that case where any “public interest” is affected at large. Because if only one person is affecting then that is not a ground for filing PIL”. So this eliminates option D. Option B is also eliminated because no ‘public interest’ is being affected at large. One might assume the conditions of those people to be very poor because of working in the mine but it is legal. People do odd jobs to survive. You do not have to assume any outside knowledge in such questions.
A is eliminated; it is common knowledge that playing loud music at night is banned; halls can do it in the daytime. Option C is the correct answer as it presents the best scenario under which a PIL can be filed. The health of the village at large is being affected.
The statement in option C presents a scenario where the interest of a large number of people are being affected due to the decision of the Haryana government and it is also mentioned that they found out the law to be coercive. It is mentioned in the passage that “if only one person is affecting then that is not a ground for filing PIL”, hence option D is eliminated. There is no issue of ‘gender inequality’ in disallowing people with more than two living children from holding offices hence A is eliminated. Option B presents a scenario where people are in agreement with the law. Option C is the correct answer.
It is mentioned at the end of the passage that “the Court has also taken action on the basis of letters received from aggrieved persons, journalists, lawyers and Social workers and even on the basis of newspaper reports.’ And it is also mentioned that a person can approach Supreme Court, High Court or even Court of Magistrate under different sections for filing PILs. This eliminates options A and B and makes option C the correct answer. Option D is incorrect as the passage does not make any mention of social workers being given special rights.
It is clearly mentioned in the passage that “the Supreme Court has also taken action on the basis of letters received from aggrieved persons, journalists, lawyers and Social workers and even on the basis of newspaper reports”. The passage also mentions that any person can file a PIL where any “public interest” is affecting at large. This eliminates options A and C. Option D is also incorrect as solely this cannot be the reason for the PIL being accepted. Option B is the correct answer.
That is all from us in this blog on Legal Reasoning for CLAT. We hope you found the tips and sample questions given above useful for your exam preparation. All the best.
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