NLS SBA stands up, vows to fight 50% reservation tooth and nailNLS SBA stands up, vows to fight 50% reservation tooth and nail

The NLSIU Bangalore student bar association (SBA) has released a strong statement vowing to resist the Karnataka state's new law introducing a 50% reservation for students from Karnataka.

The state reservation bill was first reported by the Economic Times on Tuesday (20 June), and is feared by students and others to significantly change the identity and strengths of the first national law school.

The SBA has now vowed its “opposition” to the “shocking” move, and that it would “pursue all available options” to ensure this would not be the “end of the road in this matter”.

Dear all,

The Karnataka legislature has passed an amendment the NLSIU Act to reserve at least 50% of seats at the National Law School of India University for residents of Karnataka to all courses of NLSIU. This is a sudden and shocking development. Last month, thousands of students from all over the country appeared for the CLAT Examination and MPP Admissions with the aspirations of being a part of NLSIU and similar such institutions. The extraordinary measure of introducing 50% domicile reservations will surely strike a blow to the countless number of meritorious aspirants who wish to be a part of the university.

The National Law School was founded as a national institution to provide exemplary legal education in our country. With the immense contributions of the legal and academic fraternity of the entire nation, the University has attained the stature that it holds at present. This stature is something which we are extremely proud of. The founding principles of this University have been to make it an institution of primary national importance, which is something we have attained through many years of effort from the faculty, the administration and students – students from diverse backgrounds, from across the country, who come to the University in order to gain a valuable and unique educational experience, and further the cause of legal development in India. One of the most cherished aspects of life at NLSIU has been the immense cultural and regional diversity which we have witnessed over the years. Such diversity has contributed to enhancing our learning experience manifold, and also led to many different parts of the country gaining from having well-trained lawyers and academics. Efforts to dilute that diversity strike at the core of the ethos of our University.

At the time of its inception, the University greatly benefitted from the generosity and cooperation of the State of Karnataka. We are an institution established by a State Act, built on state land. At a time when there was no equivalent or precedent available, the State of Karnataka gave the founders of NLSIU the space, time and resources to establish the University that they conceived of. For this, we will always be indebted to the State and the people of Karnataka. However, it remains to be seen how much of a role the Government of Karnataka has been playing in the University, especially in recent times. We are a largely self-financed institution, functioning with limited external funding and reliant on the income we raise through fees and grants from the UGC and benevolent individuals and bodies.

Many students from Karnataka have themselves studied at the University. They have been Rhodes Scholars and Student Body Presidents, and they have achieved great heights in their lives. Karnataka residents continue to do well at our University year after year. A great many of our graduates have contributed to the state of Karnataka in untold ways and continue to do so, be it as senior advocates, academics, constitutional functionaries, and civil servants who have dedicated their careers to the welfare of the state of Karnataka. All of that was and continues to be done without compromising on our diversity and our national character. This amendment goes against that ethos.

The achievements of NLSIU alumni are varied and several – they have not only excelled within India but have reached the far corners of the globe, and have they contributed immensely in their own ways. The contributions of NLSIU to the nation are unquantifiable, and unique. The new amendment to the NLSIU Act puts this very national character of NLSIU into question. The Act very clearly envisions a national law school. Domicile reservations of at least 50 per cent for a University with only around 80 students in each undergraduate batch and 40-50 students in each PG batch makes this goal extremely difficult. We struggle to find similar cases where half the seats have been reserved for domiciles in any other premier institution. Our University and other similar premier institutions have a larger nation-building role, and such a large quanta of seats being deemed only available to residents of a particular state would be contrary to our founding values, and the duties we fulfill as a National Law University.

Therefore, we believe that opposition to a move to reserve half of all seats at the University for residents of any one state is important. We do not consider this as the end of the road in this matter. We will pursue all available options, including continuing discussions at the State as well as Central level, with our Chancellor the Chief Justice of India, with the Bar Council of India, the Supreme Court and all other authorities concerned.

NLSIU must and will remain an institution whose doors are open to all young minds across the country and this is an assurance we wish to give to everyone.


Mathew Nevin Thomas and Osho Chhel President and Vice-President, Student Bar Association

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Like +22 Object -1 Lawyer@ 22 Jun 17, 04:28  interesting  top rated
This will have zero impact. Remember also that both the BJP and Congress supported this and we are in an election year in Karnataka. Furthermore, NLU VCs are all spineless chamchas of politicians and have no academic merit. The VCs will thus support reservation as well.

There is only one way out, which is this:

1. The student bodies of the top 7 NLUs need to get together and file a PIL before the Supreme Court (NLSIU, NALSAR, NUJS, NLUD, NLUJ, NLIU, GNLU).

2. They need to argue that it is unconstitutional for NLUs to be deprived of the status of institutes of National Importance, like IITs and IIMs. The SC has to give a directive saying they need to be classified as such.
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Like +11 Object -5 Guest 22 Jun 17, 19:10  interesting  controversial
How is it unconstitutional for NLUs to be deprived of the status of institutes of national importance? Could you kindly build (or even initiate) a tenable legal argument on those lines. Kindly leave the passion on one side and help us out here.
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Like +0 Object -0 Guest 22 Jun 17, 04:29
JGLS has 25 % Haryana reservation. Who are they to talk about merit???
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Like +5 Object -0 Hexabin 22 Jun 17, 17:43  interesting
What's the relevance of dragging JGLS here?
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Like +22 Object -3 NLSx 22 Jun 17, 09:57  interesting  top rated
It has taken decades of incredibly hard work to build an institution like NLS - with no Indian model to emulate. We will not let this election gimmick ruin the Law School experience. Really unfortunate that KA Legislature which has no understanding of Law School dynamics sees fit to change and comprise the national character and experience of the college.
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Like +4 Object -7 vp singhster 22 Jun 17, 11:44
lets openly talk of existing reservations too those suck as well or atleast dod for people who set fire to themselves in protest in 90s
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Like +4 Object -0 Mx. X 22 Jun 17, 18:57
"[T]hose suck as well" - A winning argument!
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Like +12 Object -0 NWA 22 Jun 17, 14:12  interesting  top rated
No one gives a shit about student petitions. The students need to get off their armchair and approach the Supreme Court. Collaborating with other NLUs from different states will add credence to the PIL (especially NLUD, NALSAR and NUJS).

What can also work is a letter with signatures of around 20 eminent retired Supreme Court judges (Ruma Pal etc) and around 50 top Senior Advocates. This can be added to the PIL and circulated in public.

Traditionally, students from NLUs have been insecure and jealous of each other because of rivalries concerning job placements --- typical of the Indian middle class. Let us see if they can put aside their differences and unite.
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Like +17 Object -2 Guest 22 Jun 17, 14:53  interesting  top rated
If students from NALSAR, NUJS, NLUD etc think this is an opportunity for them to overtake NLSIU, they are gravely mistaken. Populists like Kejriwal, Mamata and that joker from the Telangana party will copy this example and impose 50% domicile reservation at those NLUs as well. Instead of celebrating NLSIU's demise please show solidarity with them as it will affect your NLUs as well.
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Like +5 Object -2 NLUD 23 Jun 17, 16:54
Half the college strength is made up of Delhi kids anyway so...
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Like +0 Object -0 NLS Student 26 Jun 17, 21:03
Also NALSAR already has a domicile quota...
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Like +1 Object -1 INI tag 22 Jun 17, 14:57
According to Wikipedia 100 institutes have the INI tag. Almost all all science and engineering institutes, but the IIMs and IIMCs (mass communication) are also there. So NLUs do have a case for seeking INI status,
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Like +6 Object -4 Guest 22 Jun 17, 19:13
So you went and searched Wikipedia, but not a credible government website for this information. Good job. Guess the reservation won't hurt as much.
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Like +2 Object -9 Guest 22 Jun 17, 17:25
SC/ST/OBC reservation should also be abolished. In fact, they have lower marks than domicile quota people.
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Like +5 Object -0 Guest 22 Jun 17, 22:17  interesting
NLSIU is a dream come true for many future law aspirants this sort of reservation would wreck their life . It called Nationa law university not Karnatka law university . How state government impose such restriction on admission critrea? Is that what an idle assembly ought to do? Just to expand vote bank it just not right to ruin faith of meritorous youth . Not only NLU students need to come together to oppose this each law aspirant , lawyer and alumni students need to step into this .
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Like +14 Object -2 Alum 22 Jun 17, 22:25  interesting  top rated
For the year 2015-16, according to the financial statement available on the NLS website, the university's total income was just over 34.5 crores, most of which was generated through the fees earned from the distance learning program, the full time courses offered on campus and the centres working on campus. In this context 1 crore- the amount given by Karnataka Government in the year 2015-16 (about 2.8% of the total) doesn't seem too large an amount. It can be seen in a similar context for other years.

Can the Karnataka Government really demand that 50% seats go to students of Karnataka after making such a low contribution?
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Like +4 Object -5 Anony 22 Jun 17, 22:48
What's the value of the land given by the Karnataka government?
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Like +5 Object -2 Guest 23 Jun 17, 07:22
Karnataka does not deserve an NLSIU. NLSIU in fact should consider setting itself up in another state.
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Like +4 Object -0 RMLNLU Alum @ SAM 23 Jun 17, 12:40
RMLNLU had a 55% reservation of which 90% was for domicile (please feel free to correct me NLU lko, if it has changed). It was ridiculous. While I competely understand and agree with the social (constitutional) reasoning behind the reservation, the collective quality of the batches (including mine) was far from par. Very unlikely that RMLNLU will break into the top 5 anytime soon.
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Like +6 Object -0 Guest 23 Jun 17, 14:46  interesting
Kian pls interview Venkata Rao. Much will depend on what stance he takes.
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Like +2 Object -0 Darkseid 23 Jun 17, 17:46
Is he getting a third term for having agreed to this, perchance? ;)
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Like +1 Object -0 Guest 24 Jun 17, 00:40
Why is Rao silent??????
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Like +1 Object -0 Guest 26 Jun 17, 03:46
Why is LI not giving more coverage to this story?
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Like +0 Object -0 Insider 26 Jun 17, 14:59
I have inside information from top sources. Rao is backing this. BJP and centre will go with what Rao says plus it is an election year. SC can be approached but NLSIU is a state university and not like IIT and IIM.
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