NLSIU looks for deal with govt on local quota battle

NLSIU looks for deal with govt on local quota battle

The National Law School India University (NLSIU) in Bengaluru. DH Photo

The National Law School of India University (NLSIU) —which is locked in a battle with the state government on reserving 25% seats for local students — looks to be pushing for a deal with the government. 

On February 18, the BJP government tabled the National Law School of India (Amendment) Bill seeking to reserve 25% of seats for students who have studied in the state for ten years. The Bill will come up for discussion in the Assembly on March 2.

The law school, which has opposed the quota move, is trying to impress upon the government that it can reserve seats only when the institute expands. The NLSIU hopes that the government will agree to its reasoning and end up dropping the Bill. 

The matter is expected to be discussed at the NLSIU executive council meeting on February 28 that Chief Justice of India S A Bobde will attend. 

“The executive council will discuss the future of the NLS itself, which includes primarily our expansion plan,” a senior official from the NLS administration said.  

The NLSIU admits 80 students to its flagship undergraduate programme. Admissions are based on a national-level Common Law Admission Test (CLAT).

“Our intake has remained 80 since 1988. For us to expand, we have a capex problem. We’ve been talking to the government for a one-time injection,” the official said. “We plan to increase our intake to 120 in 2020-21, 180 in 2021-22 and 240 in 2022-23. And someone needs to foot the cost. We’re not against the quota, but the government should help us expand.” 

In the Bill, the government has pitched for a local student quota by citing the example of eight other Indian law schools that have a quota in
place.

The institutes are: 25% at the National Law School University, Bhopal; 10% at Rajiv Gandhi National University, Punjab; 30 seats at National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam; 80 out of 258 seats at Dr Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Lucknow; 30 of 120 at Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam; 16 of 54 in Tamil Nadu National Law School; 16 of 81 in National Academy of Legal Studies and Research University; Hyderabad; 80 of 127 in Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur. 

But the NLSIU official countered by stating that these eight institutes had received substantial monetary aid, unlike NLSIU.

“All these institutes have received a minimum Rs 350 crore from their respective state governments. But the NLSIU has received just Rs 16.38 crore in the last 32 years from the state government,” the official said. 

When contacted, NLSIU vice-chancellor Sudhir Krishnaswamy said, “A constructive consultation with all stakeholders is needed to help keep the NLSIU the number one law school.” 

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