Practice Paper With Explanations on Legal Reasoning for CLAT

Practice Paper With Explanations on Legal Reasoning for CLAT


Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow-  ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 

Passage I

Online gaming in India has been witnessing a hockey stick growth curve over the past few years with almost 3 companies touching the coveted unicorn status, and yet, industry analysts believe it’s just the tip of the iceberg.​​ The reason for such optimism is not hard to find. With a penetration of over 500 million smartphone and internet connections in India and the growing obsession of the younger generation to be hooked onto their mobile phones, the industry is poised for a massive boom. 

Having said that, the one single factor that’s impeding its economic explosion and resultantly acting as a road block for millions of potential jobs and billions as value addition to the economy is the lack of clarity of gaming laws in India. “Gaming” itself has many facets to it. Till recently, Gaming was often confused with Gambling. It is misunderstood by many that betting amounts to Gambling. And that is despite the law in this regard being contrary to that very core concept since over five decades.

What a lot of people don’t know is that jurisprudence is well established ever since the judgements of R.M.D. Chamarbaugwala (1957 SC) and Dr. K. R. Lakshmanan 1996 SC 1153 that “Games of skill”, even if played for stake and for earning profit, are regarded as a legal business venture, not amounting to “Gambling”. The court held that competitions which substantially involve skills are not gambling activities but are commercial activities, protected under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.​​ 

The distinction is fine but real. Betting or wagering on “Games of Skill” does not amount to gambling while betting or wagering on “Games of Chance” amounts to gambling and is res extra commercium. The reason for this fine distinction is also important to understand. Games such as bridge, poker, chess, sudoku, quizzes etc have champions like any other sport.​​ And a champion is not born out of chance, but hard work, intelligence, loads of training and inherent talent.

You could have someone win a jackpot or a lottery or a round of roulette but that’s entirely by luck, which could go horribly wrong with no safety net of training or skill to fall back upon. There is an argument made by the naysayers, however, that these games could be played without money being involved. It could lead to people losing money. I often wonder then, how and why would stock markets be legal since skill and potential to earn and lose money are common to both. Another argument thrown at times is “fine,​​ it could be a game of skill, but not until someone becomes really good at the game. Till then it’s not skill and therefore there should be no wagering or betting allowed”. Once again, people tend to forget that it’s like any other investment.


There are compelling reasons for putting a proper regulatory framework in place for all genres of Gaming. Lakhs of people have lost their lives’ savings to the stock market, yet no one says shut down the stock market.​​ Various investigative agencies have consistently stated that legalising betting​​ would reduce the element of black money and the influence of the underworld besides helping them in detection and focusing their investigation. It’s time to take the bull by its horns and put a proper regime in place. Let’s not do the ostrich act. Everyone loses otherwise.​​ 

Extracted with edits from:​​​​ ​​  by​​ The Daily Guardian,​​ May​​ 2020​​ ​​ ​​  ​​​​  ​​​​ 

1.​​ The​​ phrase “witnessing a hockey stick growth curve” means-​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ witnessing growth at a fast pace​​ 

(b)​​ witnessing extremely rapid growth

(c)​​ witnessing slow growth ​​ 

(d) None of the above​​ 


2.​​ Growth in online gaming is a result of which of the following factors- ​​​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ easier access to smart phones​​ ​​ 

(b)​​ better internet connectivity​​ 

(c)​​ obsession with mobile phones​​ 

(d)​​ All of the above​​ 


3.​​ Bridge, Poker, Chess and Sudoku are-​​ ​​ ​​ ​​  ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 

(a)​​ Games of Chance​​ 

(b)​​ Games of Skill​​ 

(c)​​ Both (a) and (b)​​ ​​ ​​ 

(d) Either (a) or (b)​​ ​​ 


4.​​ According to the jurisprudence evolved through judgments of the Supreme Court,​​ betting on a game of cricket is-​​ 

(a)​​ Legal​​ 

(b)​​ Illegal​​ 

(c)​​ Not illegal but morally wrong​​ ​​ 

(d)​​ Can’t say​​ ​​ ​​ 


5.​​ The author compares ‘games of chance’ with the stock market to argue that-​​ 

(a)​​ since stock market also involves chance, betting in games of chance should be legalized but regulated​​ 

(b)​​ stock market does not involve chance hence betting in games of chance should remain illegal though stock markets are regulated​​ by law​​ 

(c)​​ even though stock market also involves chance, betting in games of chance should remain illegal and unregulated​​ ​​ 

(d)​​ None of the above​​ 


Passage II​​ 

According to information on capital punishment, as many as 724 detainees have been executed in India since 1947. Half of these are represented by Uttar Pradesh, trailed by Haryana at 90, and Madhya Pradesh with 73 executions. The Death Penalty Project further reports that out of all the statutes that provide for the death sentence, only 7 of the said legislations were invoked to sentence the prisoners. The Indian Penal Code, 1860 was invoked most often to sentence individuals to death and it includes convictions under terrorism laws. Broadly, the heads of offences under which the prisoners were sentenced to death included Murder, Sexual Offences (including cases where the charges of murder were coupled with rape or otherwise cases involving a repeat rape offender punishable with death under Section 376E of the Indian Penal Code), Kidnapping or Dacoity with murder.​​ Surprisingly, there was one death penalty imposed under each, the Border Security Force Act, 1968, and the Army Act, 1950 respectively.

 The most commonly expressed justification provides that capital punishment acts as a “deterrent” to crime. However, such efficacy has been challenged by numerous comprehensive empirical studies that have categorically denied any correlation between the rate of crime and the death penalty, including the Death Penalty Project. Interestingly, there were about 8 executions for murder between 1990-2000, however, the incidences of murders constantly increased from 35,045 to 37,399. On the contrary, while the incidences of murder decreased from 37,399 in 2000 to 33,335 in 2010, only one person was executed in the entire period. A similar situation persists in relation to sexual offences, i.e., even after introducing capital punishment, there is a sharp escalation by 31% from 2017 to 2018 in crime against women as per the data of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).​​ 

Retributivists justify capital punishment under the principle of Lex talionis, translating to Matthew 5:38-42, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”​​ However, with a high degree of margin of error coupled with a lack of comprehensive measures to ascertain whether execution is appropriate, the justification for “retribution as revenge” stands on thin ice.​​ 

The subjectivity of the entire process is precisely highlighted by the case of Harbans Singh (1982). In this peculiar case, all three convicts were sentenced to death but eventually were met with different outcomes. In this case, Harbans Singh, Kashmira Singh and Jeeta Singh, whose death sentence was affirmed by the High Court preferred​​ their respective appeals to the Supreme Court independently, at different points of time. While, the petition filed first, i.e., of Jeeta, was dismissed in 1976, the petition filed by co-convict Kashmira was allowed and the punishment was commuted to life imprisonment by another bench comprising stalwarts Justice Bhagwati and Justice Fazal Ali. Soon after the commutation, the third accused, Harbans also approached the Supreme Court for commutation of his death penalty, but unfortunately, his petition was dismissed by a bench comprising of Justice Sarkaria and Justice Singhal. After exhausting all remedies, death warrants were issued for the executions of Jeeta and Harbans Singh. As a last resort, Harbans Singh again preferred a writ before the Supreme Court against the death warrant on the ground that co-accused Kashmira’s sentence was commuted and parity mandates that his sentence is commuted too. The court stayed his execution which was finally commuted to life imprisonment.​​ 

Another issue is a lack of access to justice and prisoners on death row including competent legal representation at all stages. Firstly, there are numerous restrictions on getting access to prisoners on death row and even then, the meetings are​​ in a monitored/controlled system causing immense hardship for lawyers and prisoners to prepare their defence from the first instance. Moreover, it is also relevant to note that many counsels, especially those specialising in the appellate jurisdiction often discount the need to visit their clients in prison, which should be mandatory in cases punishable by death.​​ 

Another crucial element in sentencing the death penalty includes the arbitrariness in mitigating factors. Mitigation involves collecting evidence in respect of the offender’s past antecedents to assess the behaviour of the convict and to inspire compassion with the judge, mitigating factors include physiological and psychological issues, social and economic background of the offender amongst others. However, there is vast ambiguity in the guidelines as to what may be considered as mitigating circumstances.

All in all, the death penalty poses complex legal and moral issues that necessitate the urgent need to revisit such a punishment. There exists a strong need for us to understand that unlike the colonial era, justice is fundamentally different from vengeance.​​ 

Extracted with edits from:​​​​  by​​ The Daily Guardian,​​ May​​ 2020​​ ​​ ​​  ​​​​  ​​​​ 

1.​​ The author supports capital punishment​​ on basis of-​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ its application​​ as a​​ deterrent to the commission of crime​​ 

(b)​​ its application as a means of retribution​​ 

(c)​​ both (a) and (b)​​ 

(d)​​ None of the above​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 


2.​​ Statistics indicate that-​​ 

(a)​​ Rate of crime is directly proportional to imposition of death penalty​​ 

(b)​​ Rate of crime is inversely proportional to imposition of death penalty

(c)​​ Rate of crime has no correlation with imposition of death penalty​​ 

(d) None of the above​​ 


3.​​ The Harbans Singh case highlights-​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ judicial inconsistency in the​​ invocation of death penalty​​ ​​ ​​ 

(b) judicial uniformity in the invocation of death penalty​​ 

(c)​​ low rate of invocation of death penalty by the judiciary​​ 

(d)​​ None of the above​​ 


4.​​ The phrase “Discounting the need” means-​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ overlooking the need​​ ​​ 

(b)​​ identifying the need​​ ​​ 

(c)​​ fulfilling the need​​ ​​ 

(d)​​ None of the above​​ ​​ 


5.​​ The author discusses​​ the following issues linked to imposition of death penalty-​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ arbitrariness in mitigating factors

(b)​​ inconsistency in judicial approach​​ 

(c)​​ lack of access to justice​​ 

(d)​​ All​​ of the above​​ 


Answer key with explanations  ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 

Passage I

Question 1 - Option (b) is the correct answer.

Explanation​​ ​​ On placing a hockey stick vertically and imagining its shape to be representing a growth curve,​​ the curve indicated by​​ a hockey stick​​ can be said to represent extremely rapid growth hence option (b) is correct.​​ 


Question 2 - Option (d) is the correct answer.​​ 

Explanation​​ ​​ The​​ first paragraph of the given passage indicates that option (d) is correct.​​ ​​ 


Question 3 - Option​​ (b) is the correct answer.​​ 

Explanation​​ ​​ The​​ author explains that​​ the games in question have champions who are not born out of chance but through hard work and training​​ which means that those games​​ are games of skill.​​ ​​  ​​​​  ​​​​ 


Question 4 – Option (a) is the correct answer.​​ 

Explanation​​ ​​ Cricket is a game of skill in respect of which betting is legal as per the judgments of the Supreme Court​​ hence option (a) is correct.​​ 


Question 5​​ ​​ Option (a) is the correct answer.​​ 

Explanation –​​ The​​ line “I often wonder then, how and why would stock markets be legal since skill and potential to earn and lose money are common to both.....” indicates that option (a) is correct.​​ 


Passage II

Question 1 - Option (d) is the correct answer.

Explanation​​ ​​ The author neither supports imposition of death penalty as a deterrent nor as a means of retribution hence option (d) is correct.​​ ​​ 


Question 2 - Option​​ (c) is the correct answer.​​ 

Explanation​​ ​​ The​​ second paragraph of the given passage contains examples indicating that rate of crime has no correlation with imposition of death penalty.​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 


Question 3 - Option (a) is the correct answer.​​ 

Explanation​​ ​​ The author highlights that the 3 convicts of the Harbans Singh case eventually met with different outcomes while seeking​​ commutation of their death sentence hence option (a) is correct.​​ ​​ 


Question 4 – Option (a) is the correct answer.​​ 

Explanation –​​ The line “which should be mandatory in cases punishable by death...​​ indicates that option (a) is correct​​ and even otherwise “discounting” something means overlooking it.​​ 


Question 5​​ ​​ Option (d) is the correct answer.​​ 

Explanation​​ ​​ A plain reading of the given passage indicates that option (d) is correct.​​ ​​ ​​ 


Take our test on offences against property under ipc here.

Read our post on the Landmark Judgements of 2019-2020.

Read our post on Elements of Crime.

Read CLATapult’s post on offer and acceptance here. Also, try their mocks for more legal reasoning practice questions

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