How did CLAT come into existence?
There are seventeen National Law Universities in India, the first of which is the National Law School of India University, which admitted its first batch of students in 1987. Out of the seventeen, the National Law University, Delhi conducts its own separate entrance test known as All India Law Entrance Test. With the emergence of other law schools, which also sought to conduct their admission tests at around the same time, students faced a hard time preparing for them. From time to time this issue to conduct a common entrance exam to reduce the burden of the students to give multiple test was raised, but given the autonomous status of each law school, there was no nodal agency to co-ordinate an action to this regard.
The matter drew national attention when a Public Interest Litigation was filed by Varun Bhagat against the Union of India and various National Law Universities in the Supreme Court of India in 2006. The Chief Justice of India directed the Union of India to consult with the National Law Universities to formulate a common test. The move was strongly supported by the Bar Council of India.
Given the lack of a central nodal authority to bring forth a consensus on the issue, the Ministry of Human Resources Development, (Government of India) and the University Grants Commission of India organized a meeting of the Vice-Chancellors of seven National Law Universities along with the Chairman of the Bar Council of India. After a few such meetings, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the Vice Chancellors of the seven National Law Universities on 23 November 2007 to conduct a common admission test.
In this way CLAT came into existence. The first CLAT was conducted on 11 May 2008 by NLSIU-Bangalore.