Govt seeks reservation for locals in NLSIU

The NLSIU has 80 undergraduate and 50 postgraduate seats and another 50 in the master's course on public policy. DH File Photo

The state government is holding backroom talks with the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) to convince the premier institute to provide reservations for Kannadiga students, even as a Bill passed to this effect is still pending.

In June 2017, the state legislature passed an amendment to the National Law School of India Act, 1986, seeking to reserve 50% seats for local students. This was strongly opposed by the law school. Subsequently, Governor Vajubhai R Vala returned the Bill to the government on technical grounds.

The government, determined to see the proposal through, is exploring various ways to ensure local students get a reservation in undergraduate and postgraduate law courses offered by the NLSIU.

“We are discussing with the concerned stakeholders to arrive at an agreeable solution,” Law Minister Krishna Byre Gowda told DH. NLSIU vice-chancellor R Venkata Rao did not comment.  

Notably, the government has now asked the NLSIU to implement reservation for SC/ST students under a state law passed in 1991, if it does not want to reserve seats for Kannadiga students.

At present, NLSIU does not reserve seats for SC/ST students whereas all public universities in Karnataka provide 18% reservation to SC/ST students as per the Karnataka Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other Backward Classes (Reservation of Appointment etc) Act, 1990.

“With this, we hope to convince the NLSIU to reserve at least one-third, if not 50%, of seats for Kannadigas. That way, we can ensure seats for both SC/ST and general students from Karnataka,” a source said.

The NLSIU has 80 undergraduate and 50 postgraduate seats and another 50 in the master's course on public policy. Students are admitted based on a national-level Common Law Admission Test (CLAT).

The amendment Bill originally sought to reserve 30% seats to domicile students of Karnataka. It defined ‘domicile’ as a student whose either parent resided in Karnataka for at least ten years before the qualifying examination and the student should have studied in a recognised educational institute in the state for five years. The BJP legislators demanded that the reservation be increased to 50% and domicile brought down to seven years.

The previous Congress government agreed to both demands and the Bill was passed unopposed.

The NLS Student Bar Association had flayed the Bill. It argued that the “extraordinary measure...will surely strike a blow to the countless number of meritorious aspirants who wish to be a part of the university.”

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Govt seeks reservation for locals in NLSIU

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