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NUJS brings #nationaliseNLUs movement to life with NLU consortium and law day demonstrations

NUJS sends out an SOS for NLU nationalisation
NUJS sends out an SOS for NLU nationalisation

NUJS Kolkata students staged a campus demonstration yesterday (26 November) to lend voice to national law university (NLU) students’ common demand that NLUs should be given Institute of National Importance (INI) status.

The National Law Universities Students Consortium, India, which is a group of NLU student councils, released a statement yesterday with the demand:

We, the students of all the NLUs, renew and reaffirm our call for reforms in legal education in India by urging the Union Government to take cognizance of the abysmal state of affairs and bring parity in the administration of NLUs, to make them at par with other national institutes.

Being comparable to IITs, NITs, IIITs and IIMs (added earlier this year) in every respect, granting NLUs the status of ‘Institutes of National Importance’ (INI) must also be considered specially to tackle the perpetual lack of funds and issues faced by students.

Law day protest

At NUJS in the wake of the NUJS Act amendment bill passed in the state assembly last week which has been staunchly condemned by students, they were out on the grounds yesterday chanting the slogan “nationalise NLUs”, according to video footage we have seen.

Several other NLUs, such as Nalsar Hyderabad and NLSIU Bangalore were closed for the semester break, but supported the initiative.

The Nalsar Student body (SBC) told us yesterday:

Nalsar is on semester break so we couldn’t organise any physical demonstration. However, we firmly stand in solidarity with the students of NUJS against State Government’s attack on the institutional autonomy. This joint statement is historic as it is the first time that students from ALL the NLUs have come together to make a collective demand for Nationalisation. We have established an NLUs Students Consortium with the aim of pushing for reforms in the field of legal education in India. The Consortium will serve as a common platform for voicing the concerns of law students across National Law Universities.

An NLSIU student council representative told us yesterday that while on semester break the students had internally circulated the statement of the NLU students consortium for comment.

The HNLU Raipur student council said yesterday: “Most of the NLUs have their semester break going on now. So we are not able to do anything as of now. But we are planning to send petitions and letters across legal and political fraternity.”

NationaliseNLUs who now?

The origin of the #nationaliseNLUs campaign is not entirely clear. Images announcing the hashtag and initiative had surfaced in comments on Legally India over the past several months but despite looking hard, we have not been able to trace whoever had first come up with it.

NUJS and other student councils are understood to have been inspired by the idea and ran with it.

If you happen to know who first came up with the hashtag, please do get in touch or share in the comments.

Why INI?

According to the consortium’s statement the lack of funds provided by the government to the NLUs coupled with increasing state government interference in the administration of the NLUs had resulted in a situation where NLUs today were “inefficiently administrated educational institutions that failed the cause of legal excellence in India”.

The INI status would bring NLUs under the control of the central government and open the gates for treatment at par with the IITs and IIMs.

NLUs’ common demand for INI status had first surfaced in November 2017 when NLSIU, Nalsar and NUJS student bodies released a joint statement in support of the demand.

But even before that join statement then DSNLU Vizag final year student Debadutta Bose had drafted a bill to provide for INI status to NLUs, which was later introduced in the Lok Sabha. It is currently pending.

HNLU Raipur SBC president Snehal Ranjan Shukla commented: “It is saddening that even after 10 years of CLAT and establishment of 21 NLUs, the authorities have not acted in the direction of achieving the goal for which NLUs were conceptualized.

“More than 10 NLUs have sat in protest in the past 2 years and what we have seen is the same problem persists everywhere. We believe that bringing an uniformity within the universities will help all the university grow in terms of knowledge, experience, exposure and administration. We believe that the word ‘NATIONAL’ should have some meaning attached to it.

“There is a bill pending before the parliament it should be discussed with all the stake holders to bring certain amendments and it should be passed as soon as possible,” Shukla added.

NUJS for more national support of NLUs
NUJS for more national support of NLUs

NUJS students united in support of initiative
NUJS students united in support of initiative

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