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NLS students call off strike after alumns get back channel CJI green-light about process (though BCI has different plans)

NLS students call
NLS students call

NLSIU Bangalore’s students have called off their three-day-old strike about the delay in appointment of their new vice-chancellor (VC), after alumni are understood to have received an assurance that the relevant Supreme CLourt judges are expecting the process to conclude shortly.

On Twitter, the Student Bar Association said:

Our protest seems to be coming to a successful conclusion. The following statement was received from an alumnus in conversation with the CJI, who has assured that only procedural formalities are left in appointment and will be completed.

Of course, many a slip ‘twixt etc applies, considering the swirling rumours about the administration and Bar Council of India (BCI) trying to slow down the process; but NLS 2001 graduate Gopal Sankaranarayanan had met with the Chief Justice of India (CJI)-cum-chancellor on and judges on behalf of students earlier today and seems confident (see letter above).

Apparently, the CJI and Justice SA Bobde said that the confirmation of all-but-appointed candidate Prof Sudhir Krishnaswamy only required sign-off by the CJI:

“Only a formal decision is to be taken by the CJI in exercise of the consultation power, which will be out shortly,” reported Sankaranarayanan in his letter to NLS stakeholders.

The judges did however, reportedly chastise the students somewhat, asking them to call off their protests and expressing concern that the students were trying to pressure the executive council (EC).

BCI endgame unclear

They’re not the only ones: the BCI co-chairman Ved Prakash Sharma had written a letter to the CJI with feedback that “students body is crossing it’s limit by trying to question the functioning of the Executive Council and accusing the Registrar by imputing motives on him for allegedly halting the process of appointment [of Krishnaswamy], totally forgetting that the Registrar is also a senior professor of NLSIU and commands respect in the academic circles as an acclaimed teacher of law” (sic as applicable).

On top of that, Sharma suggested: “Neither the NLSIU Act nor Rules permit them [students] to be part of any such process. The role of Professor Sudhir Krishnaswamy behind the present agitation can’t be ruled out. To restore discipline in the campus, the decision to appoint him Vice-Chancellor should be reviewed by the EC and suitable action taken against the students responsible for creating the present situation in the NLSIU campus. It’s high time NLSIU is insulated from elements that pose a danger to the smooth functioning of the best law school built by decades of hard toil by most reputed legal luminaries of the country.”

Furthermore, according to the Indian Express, BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra “has sent in a dissent note” to the EC, “citing Krishnaswamy’s lack of administrative experience”.

The likelihood that students may get the VC they are dreaming of has increased somewhat, but it’s still nowhere near a shoo-in.

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