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More than two hundred students at the National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam are currently protesting the poor state of affairs at the university. The students say that there is not a single permanent faculty member, and only two associate professors.
Worse, students say that university has been without a Vice Chancellor for more than four months (an advertisement for the post was published in July), and the acting VC is failing to play an active role in running the university.
After the administration failed to respond to these complaints, the students approached the university’s Chancellor, the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court. The High Court’s Acting Chief Justice is K. Sreedhar Rao
Last Friday, the students had submitted a list of demands to the administration and stated that they would remain on strike until these demands were met. These students are seeking, amongst other things, finality on the new campus, the establishment of a Student Bar Association and a University journal, as well as reducing daily class hours to five hours from the current eight.
When the protests continued unabated, Acting Chief Justice K. Sreedhar Rao visited the NLUJAA campus and spoke to some of the students. As per the NLUJAA students, Justice Rao sought a memorandum of demands and said that these issues would be discussed by the university’s General Council.
As this story goes to print, the police have been called in and are currently stationed at the university gates.
From a more holistic point of view, the situation at NLUJAA highlights the difficulties in establishing a national law university and ought to serve as a cautionary tale for state governments eager to score political points by establishing such universities.
Update on September 22, 2014 at 17:00 hrs: Students at NLUJAA are now planning a hunger strike following a complete breakdown of communication between the student body and the administration. Students allege that they are no longer be allowed to enter the university and that Justice Rao is not willing to speak to the students. You can read the “Saga of Grieved Souls” – the memorandum submitted by the student body, below.