•  •  Dark Mode

Your Interests & Preferences

I am a...

law firm lawyer
in-house company lawyer
litigation lawyer
law student
aspiring student

Website Look & Feel

 •  •  Dark Mode
Blog Layout

Save preferences

CAA round-up: 30 NLS students, 1 prof, 4 Nalsarites detained by cops • Law firm shuts shop • Statements galore + more NUJS, MNLU student politics • ...

NLU students mostly continue anti-CAA protests as pro-CAA-movement grows more slowly
NLU students mostly continue anti-CAA protests as pro-CAA-movement grows more slowly

Around 30 NLSIU Bengaluru students had been detained by local police earlier today between 11am to 530pm, alongside NLS professor Kunal Ambasta and (non-NLS) historian Ramachandra Guha, after protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The police detained the students as a group of possibly up to 250 others in a hall near the Adugodi police station, confirmed a student bar association (SBA) spokesperson.

All, including Guha, were released by 530pm today.

Around 80 NLS students are understood to have taken part in the protests, though others were active behind the scenes assisting, such as by making a spreadsheet to keep track of student whereabouts, whether they need any medical help, if they have access to lawyers and alumni who could be contacted for help, for instance.

One fifth-year NLS student commented that “each and every citizen should be our on the roads at this time pretesting against this clamping down of dissent”, adding that “dissent is the highest form of patriotism”.

In Hyderabad, although Nalsar Hyderabad students are currently on term break, two students and one alumnus were detained by police after protesting, but released before 5pm, according to a Nalsar stucouncil (SBC) spokesperson.

Another two Nalsar students were briefly picked up by police at Delhi protests but released shortly after.

But that’s not all that has happened in law and CAA...

Round up of events below, and on request, please share any other activities or updates in the comments and we can include here (but please refrain from inter-factional name-calling, racism and abusing each other in the comments).

One law firm shuts shop in Delhi

One law firm, very neutrally referring to the protests as “civil disobedience”, politely informed clients that the office would be shut today:

Dear All,

Please be informed that due to ongoing Civil Disobedience in some parts of Delhi our telephone and internet services have/will be affected / interrupted. Due to the same reason our offices are being closed today to ensure employee safety. Therefore, please expect delayed responses from our office. In case of any urgent matters please call on the below numbers of our team.

JGLS legal aid clinic helps out protesters

JGLS Sonepat’s Legal Aid Clinic has tweeted that it has “filed representations and complaints against the Police brutality” before various ministries.

Battle of the statements

Statements galore by alumni and students of national law universities (NLUs) expressing their positions on the CAA. Most, perhaps unsurprisingly considering the liberal education most law schools impart, oppose the CAA so far, but then at a few NLUs things have gotten (or been painted as) more political, in the right vs left sense.

NLU Delhi alumns make statement

NLU Delhi students and alumni have made a statement opposing CAA, though it’s not clear how many have signed it (if you have a link to a signed version, please do share with us). The NLU Delhi alumns condemned the police action and “especially denounce the shutdown of the internet in different parts of the country, which only confirms the suspicion of executive misuse of power and police brutality”.

They also pointed out a “dangerous lack of discussion” in Parliament on issues that affected the “very fabric of the nation”, without reference “made to standing committees for critical bills”.

612 GNLU students & alumns sign pro freedom-of-speech statement

As of 17 December afternoon, according to the unofficial GNLU blog, Jury’s Out.

We, the students and alumni of Gujarat National Law University (GNLU), condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and use of force against our fellow citizens – students and otherwise – exercising their fundamental right to protest across India. [...]

We stand in solidarity with the students and others exercising their fundamental right to dissent and protest.

These GNLU students did not opine on CAA per se.

RGNUL statement signed by 263 anti CAA

Update 20 December 2019: RGNUL students have made a statement against CAA signed by 263, as of 18 December 2019, 1pm.

NUJS alumns (402) vs alumns (74)

Meanwhile, the split in NUJS Kolkata’s student body has clearly invigorated alumni on both sides (see our previous report from earlier this week for background).

First off, 402 NUJS alumni signed a strongly-worded petition not just in solidarity of protestors but also against CAA point blank, by late on 17 December 2019, noting the following:

NUJS Alumni – Statement in Solidarity We, the undersigned, are alumni from the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. As Indian citizens and members of the legal fraternity, we feel compelled to put forth this statement in opposition of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the atrocities that have been perpetrated post its enactment.

The CAA has been enacted with the stated intent of removing hurdles in granting citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists and Parsis, who have arrived from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh prior to 31st December, 2014. However, the impact of the CAA alongside the proposed nationwide National Citizens Register (NRC), will, in all likelihood, lead to the persecution of several segments of the population, most notably the Muslim community which has been excluded from the CAA. The potential impact of the NRC on many other communities who may struggle with documentation cannot be overstated.

The collective impact of the CAA and NRC threatens the very fabric of India. It runs afoul of our constitutional principles, our obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the cornerstone of international refugee law-- the principle of non-refoulement. We view the CAA and its implementation with a strong sense of foreboding--one that may polarise our beloved nation beyond repair.

We also stand in solidarity with student communities and citizens across the country, who are peacefully voicing their opposition against CAA. We do not condone violence in protests, but we strongly condemn the brutality and disproportionate force used by law enforcement authorities in various parts of the country, including Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to muzzle dissent, particularly in educational institutions. We demand that those responsible for such atrocities be held accountable under law.

We appeal to the Government of India to respect the fundamental right to peaceful protest and allow the free exercise of this right across the country.

NB: This represents the views of the signatories below. We understand that there may be dissent among certain members of the alumni - however, we categorically dissociate ourselves from any views supporting CAA and state violence.

Then, earlier today, another petition made the rounds on Twitter also purporting to be from NUJS Kolkata alumni but this time in favour of the CAA (though, perhaps tellingly about where the majority of young students’ support lies, that petition only managed to muster the apparent public support of 74 signatories, despite having had an extra two days over the earlier petition).).

That petition took the “opportunity to thank our Hon’ble Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi and Hon’ble Home Minister Sh. Amit Shah for ensuring the CAA’s purposeful enactment that is sure to bring much needed relief to persecuted minorities from our neighbouring three countries which have shown a pervasive, systematic and institionalized track record against such minorities”.

That letter added that the signatories believed the CAA was “by no means anti any particular community specifically Muslims and is founded on an intelligible differentia under Article 14 of the Constitution”, having a “reasonable nexus” to its objective of trying to protect “oppressed minorities” from those three countries. They were “appalled by the logic fronted by those in opposition to the CAA”.

NUJS has become a bit of a political hotspot after allegations that NUJS was slower than other NLUs in supporting a statement condemning police violence, after a senior Student Juridical Association (SJA) office bearer had apparently said NUJS students would not sign, according to a message by the office bearer shared in screenshot of the official NLU students’ consortium WhatsApp group, which was shared on Twitter (the authenticity of which we have confirmed).

NLU Consortium Whatsapp group conversation
NLU Consortium Whatsapp group conversation

MNLU Mumbai issues correction, removes SBC prez

A similar but reverse story at MNLU Mumbai, where an office bearer made a personal statement in favour of the CAA, which was then quickly reversed by the rest of the student body, which made a statement against the CAA.

The student bar council (SBC) of MNLU Mumbai, meanwhile, clarified on 17 December, according to Republic TV’s website, that Republic’s earlier report of MNLU students supporting to the CAA/CAB was not reflective of wider student views, and based on just the student council president’s personal beliefs.

That statement, on official SBC letterhead and signed by SBC vice president and secretary, also added that the SBC president would not continue in the position.

Republic had reported on 14 December that the president of the SBC had sent out a press release welcoming the Citizenship Amendment Bill (as it then was). The press release was made on an SBC presidential letterhead and while not necessarily expressly purporting to have been on behalf of the entire SBC, it could certainly have looked that way to the average Republic TV website reader.

In the same NLU consortium WhatsApp group conversation as above (which is authentic), the MNLU president had, before making his statement, also apparently said that MNLU students would not issue a statement, which had particularly upset several other SBC members.

WhatsApp student messages
WhatsApp student messages

Right-of-Centre Twitter and blogs have been having a field day of it, claiming that the SBC president has been getting harassed “mentally” after making his statement.

All in all, just another average few days of legal education at our newly also hyper-polarised NLUs.

Click to show 109 comments
at your own risk
By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.