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NUJS review commission still stuck in red tape, despite ex-CJI appointing Mohan Gopal, Faizan Mustafa, Lalit Magotra

For some reason, review commission still hasn’t started work of taking critical look at NUJS
For some reason, review commission still hasn’t started work of taking critical look at NUJS

The judiciary-appointed review commission of NUJS Kolkata, which was signed off on by NUJS’s ex-chancellor and ex-Chief Justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur in November 2016, remains 16-years overdue and has not been signed off on yet.

Thakur is understood to have constituted the review commission with three members to lead it in December 2016, but the start of the commission’s review has been in limbo since then, awaiting final approval from the West Bengal state government.

Thakur had appointed:

  • as chairman Prof Mohan Gopal (director of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies in Delhi, and the former director of the National Judicial Academy Bhopal);
  • as member, Prof Faizan Mustafa (vice-chancellor of Nalsar Hyderabad); and
  • as third member, Prof Lalit Magotra (former head of physics and sciences dean at the University of Jammu).

Part of the delay in the start of the commission’s work has been caused by Thakur’s retirement, as well as the appointment in the interim of a new advocate general in West Bengal, senior counsel Kishore Dutta, who also happens to be the state’s youngest ever in the position, at age 49.

(Until July of 2016, Dutta had also, incidentally, represented former NUJS registrar Surajit Mukhopadhyay’s unsuccessful challenge of his termination by vice chancellor Ishwara Bhat for “financial mismanagement").

453 NUJS students had signed a petition in 2014 requesting that the CJI urgently intervene to appoint the commission.

NUJS vice chancellor Prof Ishwara Bhat did not respond to an emailed request for comment sent yesterday.

Reviewing reviews

National law university (NLU) review commissions, which are usually mandated to be held every five years in the enabling statute of NLUs, including NUJS’, are supposed to critically examine the state of the NLU, whether it has been achieving the objectives for which it has been established, as well as highlighting academic and infrastructural problems.

Nalsar Hyderabad’s review commission report in 2012, for instance, despite having been buried by the administration, eventually resulted in the resignation of its vice chancellor.

GNLU Gandhinagar’s report was highly critical of the management, but the administration later claimed that a revised report, which GNLU never published in full, was a full endorsement.

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