NLSIU students, faculty differ on quota for locals

NLSIU students, faculty differ on quota for locals

National Law School Bengaluru. | DH Photo: Pushkar V

The Cabinet approval for 25% quota at the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) has elicited mixed response at the elite law university.

Several students described the amendment counterproductive which could damage the university’s “cultural and regional diversity.”

“The quota puts the very national character of the NLSIU in question. The NLSIU Act envisions a national law school. Quota reservations for a university with only around 80 students in each undergraduate batch and 40-50 students in each postgraduate batch makes this goal extremely difficult,” said Brindha (name changed), a fifth-year student from Karnataka. 

NLSIU has a total student strength of about 480, with 200 undergraduates.

Brindha said she struggled to get into the NLSIU, which should make her biased in favour of the quota.

“However, five years in this institution has changed my perspective. The reservation will not only compromise on the quality of students and thereby the university, but makes us no different from any other local college,” she added.

Another senior student disputed the government’s right to impose the quota on the university on the grounds that it did not fund the NLSIU.

Meantime, Professor Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Vice-Chancellor of the university, said he would not be in a position to comment on the matter until he had a chance to study the bill. 

Several students and faculty members expressed confidence that he would tackle the issue appropriately.

This includes faculty members who said the quota could potentially help raise equity in the institution.

“The idea that the National Law School of India University should have national representation is valid, but being that the university is in Karnataka, one can also argue that local students should get their share of access, especially since the quota is not based on caste or such criteria,” a faculty member said, adding that the university already has 18% reservation for SC/ST classes.

‘Insult to local students’

However, Avinash Rao, another fifth-year student from Karnataka said that while the quota amendment might be well-intentioned, it nevertheless reinforces the misconception that Karnataka students cannot excel on their own.

While university demographics was unavailable, Rao speculated that about 19% of university students were already from Karnataka, based on the demographics of his batch of 80 students, out of which 15 were from the state. The CLAT data also shows state students perform better than all others, with 1.2% getting into the top 100.

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