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Minor fee-hike victory for NUJS students

National University of Juridicial Sciences Kolkata (NUJS) has agreed to decrease its tuition fees by Rs 5,000 per year, although students are still hoping for a larger decrease to be agreed by the finance committee.

The reduction will only apply to second to fifth-year students on the LLB course, but will make up only a small part of the 50 per cent increase of around Rs 45,000 per annum.

NUJS student president Aditya Kapoor said: "We've given them heads under which they can reduce fees by Rs 25,000.

"[A reduction of] Rs 5,000 was a bit of a disappointment for us."

NUJS registrar Prof D. Mukhopadhyay confirmed that the fees have been decreased.

He also explained that the university was examining whether to increase the available means-tested scholarship funds for students.

The law school's finance committee is due to meet tomorrow (12 September) to sign-off on the decrease and to discuss if fees can be decreased further under the students' proposals.

During the discussions between the student body and the university authorities, students had held off on paying their tuition fees, which resulted in an extended payment deadline being agreed.

Kapoor said: "We are all paying [the fees] for now but we've decided that if nothing happens by the end of this semester we will see what we can do."

First year students saw their fees double to around Rs 1.8 lakhs per year.

Blogger from NUJS-related blog 'A First Taste of Law' told Legally India: "I had an opportunity to look through the balance sheet of the University as a part of a team, and we think many of the expenditures can be scaled down.

"What is really necessary is more activism on the part of the students in finding out what the university is doing with their money, and to keep a check. It is not for them to decide how the university manages its money, but they having significant interest in the process, should ask for explanations and ensure that there is public accountability."

"Access to this kind of information is already a right under the Right to Information Act of 2005, but there is lack of initiative on part of students that leads to a lack of public accountability. This is the case with all the law schools in India right now," he added.

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