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Only 5 out of 21 NLUs reserve 5% seats for Persons with Disabilities [Read report]
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Only 5 out of 21 NLUs reserve 5% seats for Persons with Disabilities [Read report]

Meera Emmanuel

The Centre for Disability Studies and Health Laws (CDSHL) of the National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam (NLUJA), has found that only 5 out of 21 National Law Universities reserve the statutory minimum of 5% seats for persons with disabilities as required under the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Act, 2016.

The Centre’s report, titled the Study of the Reservation of seats in the National Law Universitites (NLUs) for Persons with Benchmark Disability discloses the following key findings.

Best Performers 

Only 5 NLUs reserve 5% seats for PWD in both UG and PG seats, in line with the PWD Act, 2016. These are NLSIU (Bangalore), NALSAR (Hyderabad), RGNUL (Patiala), DSNLU (Vishakapatnam) and TNNLS (Trichy).

It can be noted that NLUs that have not disclosed the actual number of seats reserved have not been included in this list. 

Violations highlighted

  • MNLU, Nagpur has not reserved any seats for PWD
  • MNLU, Aurangabad reserves only 3% of seats, following the earlier PWD Act of 1995, which has been replaced by the 2016 Act. This, despite the fact that MNLU starting functioning after the 2016 Act.
  • WBNUJS (Kolkata) and NLUO (Cuttack) have flouted the 5% reservation rule with respect to both UG and PG seats.
  • NLIU (Bhopal) and NUSRL (Ranchi) follows the 5% rule with respect to PG courses but have flouted it when it comes to UG seats.
  • NLUJA (Assam) flouts the rule with respect to PG Seats, although they have complied with it for UG seats.
  • Taking into consideration all the definite data available from all NLUs, the study puts the number of swindled seats at a total of 17 seats (15 UG seats and 2 PG seats)

This is apart from the possible violations that may be at play when quoting only percentages of seats reserved. The concern is whether the numbers would be rounded-off to reduce the number of seats actually reserved.

As noted by the study, 8 other NLUs only disclose reserving 5% for ‘Specially Abled Persons (a term not found in the PWD Act), as opposed to revealing the concrete number of seats that will be actually reserved. These NLUs are NLUJ (Jodhpur), HNLU (Raipur), GNLU (Gandhinagar), RMLNLU (Lucknow), NUALS (Kochi), MNLU (Mumbai), NLUD (Delhi) and HPNLU (Shimla).

CNLU (Patna) has quoted a 5% reservation for UG seats. However, there is no data available regarding PG seat reservations at CNLU.

These conclusions were derived from a study of brochures and admission notifications of NLUs, with respect to UG and PG courses.

The lacklustre implementation is despite the Supreme Court’s 2017 order directing that all higher education institutions covered by the PWD Act, 2016 should comply with its provisions while admitting students. It is noted that intimation regarding such compliance had also been directed to be sent to the Bar Council of India.

Image courtesy: CDHSL website

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