Sample Questions on Legal Reasoning

By | February 12, 2021
CLAT UG Legal Reasoning

Questions on legal reasoning and sample papers always help while preparing for CLAT UG and helps ace through the legal reasoning section. Given below are a few samples of questions that will help the aspirant to get an idea of the section.

Question 1

India’s Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 (‘Bill’) starts encouragingly, seeking to protect “the privacy of individuals relating to their personal data”. But by the end, it is clear it is not designed to deliver on the promise. For, even as it rightly requires handlers of data to abide by globally-accepted rules — about getting an individual’s consent first — it disappointingly gives wide powers to the Government to dilute any of these provisions for its agencies.

Recently, messaging platform WhatsApp said that some Indian journalists and rights activists were among those spied on using technology made by an Israeli company, which by its own admission only works for government agencies across the world.

Importantly, one of the first to raise a red flag about Bill’s problematic clauses was Justice B.N. Srikrishna, whose committee’s report forms the basis of the Bill. He has used words such as “Orwellian” and “Big Brother” in reaction to the removal of safeguards against actions of Government agencies. In its report last July, the committee noted that the dangers to privacy originate from state and non-state actors. It, therefore, called for exemptions to be “watertight”, “narrow”, and available for use in “limited circumstances”. It had also recommended that the Government bring in a law for the oversight of intelligence-gathering activities, the means by which non-consensual processing of data takes place.

A related concern about the Bill is regarding the constitution of the Data Protection Authority of India (‘DPA’), which is to monitor and enforce the provisions of the Act. It will be headed by a chairperson and have not more than six whole-time members, all of whom are to be selected by a panel filled with Government nominees. This completely disregards the fact that Government agencies are also regulated under the Bill; they are major collectors and processors of data themselves.

The sweeping powers the Bill gives to the Government render meaningless the gains from the landmark K.S. Puttaswamy vs. Union of India case, which culminated in the recognition that privacy is intrinsic to life and liberty, and therefore a basic right. That idea of privacy is certainly not reflected in the Bill in its current form.

[Extracted, with edits and revisions, from Unfulfilled Promise: On Personal Data Protection Bill, Editorial by The Hindu, December 16, 2019.]

1.1  Which of the following views can be correctly attributed to the author of the above passage?

  1. The idea of privacy is not relevant to the Bill.
  2. The idea of privacy can be overridden by Government agencies since their role is to protect citizens.
  3. The idea of privacy as a basic right is not adequately addressed in the Bill in its current form.
  4. Since the Bill gives sweeping powers to the Government, it is meaningless to reflect the idea of privacy in the Bill.

Answer: c

Rationale:

The correct answer is ‘c’ – the idea of privacy as a basic right is not adequately addressed in the Bill in its current form. The very essence of the author’s view is that despite the judgment in the landmark K.S. Puttaswamy vs. Union of India case recognizing the right to privacy as a basic right, the Bill in its current form does not sufficiently protect the right to privacy of individuals. None of the other options sets out views that are consistent with those of the author in the passage above.

1.2  According to the passage, the committee headed by Justice B. N. Srikrishna called for:

  1. Limiting the grounds on which Government agencies may be allowed to act in a manner that endangers the right to privacy of individuals.
  2. The right to privacy to be exempted from the ambit of the Bill.
  3. The right to privacy to be endangered by state and non-state actors.
  4. Watertight protection to Government agencies that process data of individuals.

Answer: a

Rationale:

The correct answer is ‘a’ – limiting the grounds on which Government agencies may be allowed to act in a manner that endangers the right to privacy of individuals. As is evident from a reading of the passage, the committee anticipated dangers to the right to privacy from government agencies as well and advocated building safeguards to prevent the same. The passage states that the committee recommended that exemptions allowed to Government agencies should be “watertight”, “narrow”, and available for use in “limited circumstances”. (a) is the only option consistent with such a recommendation.

1.3 Suppose the Bill provides a test of proportionality in respect of privacy, which is: “the act which infringes privacy must have a legitimate aim and must be the least restrictive way of achieving that aim”. If a journalist is known for her reporting on corruption in Government agencies and the Government chooses to engage a surveillance company to collect messages exchanged by her on WhatsApp, in order to intimidate her, does it meet the test of proportionality?

  1. Yes; without collecting the journalists’ WhatsApp messages, there is no way for the Government to prevent her from reporting against it.
  2. No; the Government should have taken measures such as imprisoning the journalist to ensure that she does not continue reporting.
  3. No; conducting surveillance on a journalist to intimidate her is not a legitimate aim.
  4. Yes; reporting on issues that show the Government in bad light creates disharmony and the Government used proportionate force to prevent the same.

Answer: c

Rationale:

The correct answer is ‘c’ – No; conducting surveillance on a journalist to intimidate her is not a legitimate aim. This is because it provides a correct explanation for why the Government’s actions fail the test of proportionality as stated above. The test of proportionality requires that an act that infringes privacy must have a legitimate aim. Conducting surveillance on a journalist in order to intimidate her cannot be a legitimate aim.

1.4 The author is concerned about the constitution of the DPA under the Bill because:

  1. The author believes that Government agencies should not be regulated under the Bill.
  2. The author believes that if the members of the DPA are elected by Government nominees, the DPA will be ineffective in regulating Government agencies.
  3. The author believes that the DPA should be constituted of major collectors and processors of data.
  4. The author believes that collectors and processors of data cannot be regulated by persons who have no experience in collecting and processing data.

Answer: b

Rationale:

The correct answer is ‘b’ – the author believes that if the members of the DPA are elected by Government nominees, the DPA will be ineffective in regulating Government agencies. This is because the author’s concern regarding the constitution of the DPA under the Bill relates to the fact that the members of the DPA are to be elected by a panel comprising mainly Government nominees and the author doubts the ability of a body constituted of Government appointees to, in turn, regulate the actions of the Government agencies.

1.5 The Bill is amended, and the Government’s powers to provide exemptions for its agencies are removed. In such a situation, according to the author:

  1. The Bill would deliver on its promise of seeking to protect the privacy of individuals relating to their personal data.
  2. The Bill would not deliver on its promise of seeking the protect the privacy of individuals relating to their personal data.
  3. The Bill would not deliver on its promise, since it is necessary for the Government to have such exemptions in order to effectively do its work.
  4. The Bill would be a failure since the Government would not be able to implement it.

Answer: a

Rationale:

The correct answer is ‘a’ – the Bill would deliver on its promise of seeking to protect the privacy of individuals relating to their personal data. This is clear from the first paragraph of the passage, where the author suggests that the wide powers given to the Government are the reason why the Bill does not live up to its promise. Option (b) is directly contradictory to this, and so cannot be the right option. There is nothing in the passage to support either (c) or (d) as the correct option.


Question 2

Last week, the government used the Drug Price Control Order, 2013, to increase the price ceiling for 21 medicines by as much as 50% to ensure their availability in the market. This is a welcome move because lower prices would have further limited the availability of these drugs, some of which include those used for malaria, leprosy, and allergy.

The decision by the regulatory authority – usually known to reduce prices of essential drugs – was prompted by repeated petitions by the pharmaceutical industry, which pointed out that the increasing cost of imports had made the production of some of these drugs unviable. Prices of bulk drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients have, in fact, gone up by up to 88%, and are largely imported.

Does this raise a basic question: Should the government control prices? The motivation for controlling drug prices is not very difficult to understand. Unlike some of the developed countries, where most of the population has insurance coverage or medical facilities are provided by the state, medical expenses in India are borne by citizens, largely through out-of-pocket expenses. Therefore, the state intervenes by keeping the prices of some drugs in check to contain such spending. However, the unintended consequence is that it affects the supply of drugs and can potentially make citizens worse off.

The risk of non-availability was an important reason for raising prices. Although all pharmaceutical companies may not stop producing drugs with price control, they may limit the supply. Further, the government usually dithers on price hikes because of political considerations so that it is not accused of favoring private companies.

Thus, the government should stay away from dictating prices and allow the market to function. Competition in the marketplace will ensure that no company is able to make extraordinary profits in basic and essential drugs. Since the state has limited resources, it should focus on regulation, and ensure that the quality of drugs supplied in the market is not compromised at any point.

[Source (edited): “Price hike, at last”, Business Standard, Mumbai, December 17, 2019.]

2.1   Based on the author’s arguments in the passage above, which of the following would be most correct:

  1. The state should not control the prices of medicines, since this would hamper the development of international pharmaceutical companies.
  2. The state should control the prices of medicines since it would also be manufacturing the drugs itself.
  3. The state should not control the prices of medicines, since the market would determine the best price for such drugs.
  4. The state should control the prices of medicines since citizens are likely to fall ill more often.

Answer: c

Rationale:

The correct answer is ‘c’ – the state should not control the prices of medicines, since the market would determine the best price for such drugs. The author offers the reason for controlling drug prices towards the beginning of the second paragraph – since, unlike in developed countries, medical expenses in India are borne by citizens, the state intervenes by keeping prices of some drugs in check. Based on this reasoning, therefore, if citizens do not have to pay for drugs, there would be no reason for the state to control prices. There is nothing in the passage to support either (a), (b), or (d) as the correct option.

2.2  An essential medicine, ‘Formula A’, is used to treat cancer, and there is only one company engaged in its manufacture. If this is true, then, based on the author’s reasoning in the passage above:

  1. The state should not control the price of Formula A, since it should allow the market to function.
  2. The state should control the price of Formula A, since there is no competition in the marketplace, and it cannot function to control the price of the medicine.
  3. The state should ban the sales of Formula A, and ask patients to consider using some other medicine that is made by more than one manufacturer.
  4. The state should take up the manufacture of Formula A itself.

Answer: b

Rationale:

The correct answer is ‘b’ – the state should control the price of Formula A, since there is no competition in the marketplace, and it cannot function to control the price of the medicine. The author argues that competition in the marketplace would ensure that no company is able to make extraordinary profits, in the last paragraph of the passage above. If, however, only one company manufactures Formula A, there would be no competition in the marketplace, and thus, the state would have to control its price.

2.3 The state removes all price restrictions on essential medicine. Pharmaceutical companies start selling that medicine at a price nearly 5 times its earlier price. In such a situation, based on the author’s reasoning above:

  1. The state should not control the price of the medicine, since competition in the market would eventually lead to an appropriate price being set.
  2. The state should not control the price of the medicine, since the price increase is directly attributable to an increase in the price of the ingredients used in the medicine.
  3. The state should not control the price of the medicine, but it should supply the ingredients for the medicine at lower prices.
  4. The state should control the price of the medicine, since people may not be able to afford it anymore.

Answer: a

Rationale:

The correct answer is ‘a’ – the state should not control the price of the medicine, since competition in the market would eventually lead to an appropriate price being set. The author provides this reasoning for why the state should not control the prices of medicines, in the last paragraph of the passage. There is no information in the facts provided to indicate that (b) is the correct option.

The author does not discuss the state providing the ingredients for medicines at all, and so, option (c) cannot be correct. Option (d) is also not correct, since we do not know what the previous price of the medicine was, nor do we have any information about whether people can afford it or not; this option is also contradictory to the author’s argument that the market would eventually ensure that no company makes extraordinary profits.

2.4 The state places a very low price for the sale of an essential medicine, which is lower than the price of the imported ingredients used to make that medicine. What, according to the author, would be the effect of setting such a low price?

  1. The low price would result in people thinking the medicine is not good, and they would not use it.
  2. Companies supplying the ingredients for the medicine would lower the prices of their products.
  3. People would buy more health insurance policies so that they do not have to pay for essential medicines.
  4. The low price would restrict the availability of the medicine in the market, since pharmaceutical companies may not want to manufacture or import the medicine and sell it at that price.

Answer: d

Rationale:

The correct answer is ‘d’ – the low price would restrict the availability of the medicine in the market, since pharmaceutical companies may not want to manufacture or import the medicine and sell it at that price. This option is supported by the first paragraph, which describes how pharmaceutical companies have pointed out that the increasing costs of imports have made the manufacture of certain drugs unviable since ingredients are usually imported.

The author does not discuss the pricing policies of the manufacturers of ingredients of medicines, and so, option (b) cannot be correct. Neither is there any information in the passage to support option (c) as the correct answer.

2.5 The pharmaceutical industry has been asking the government to raise the prices of certain drugs for a long time but has not received a response. Why, according to the author, could this be?

  1. The government is indecisive about raising prices for the fear of being accused of favoring private companies.
  2. Private companies only value profit and do not pay attention to the quality of medicines they manufacture.
  3. The government has limited resources, and may not have been able to study the details of the pharmaceutical industry’s demands.
  4. Since deciding the prices of medicines is not the government’s job, it would wish to avoid doing so.

Answer: a

Rationale:

The correct answer is ‘a’ – the government is indecisive about raising prices for the fear of being accused of favoring private companies. The author states this towards the end of the second paragraph and says that this would be for political considerations. There is no information in the passage to support (b) as the correct option. While the author says that the government has limited resources, and argues that it should not set prices for medicines, the author does not provide these as reasons for delays by the government in setting the prices of medicines.


Source: Official Website – Consortium of National Law Universities, Available Here


  1. Law Library: Notes and Study Material for LLB, LLM, Judiciary and Entrance Exams
  2. Legal Bites Academy – Ultimate Test Prep Destination

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.