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The Calcutta High Court on Monday rejected a plea for the implementing the recently introduced 30 percent domicile reservation for admission to the National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) from this academic year.
Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty passed the ruling after noting that the Amendment Act that introduced the domicile reservation was prospective in effect. The judge found,
“The Amendment Act is prospective in nature. The total number of seats in the said University in the LL.B programme is 150. All the seats under the West Bengal Domicile category have been filled up. By a letter dated 18th July, 2019, the candidates have been asked to confirm the acceptance of seats.”
The petitioner before the Court had cleared the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) with a rank of 731, based on which the petitioner was allotted a seat in NLU, Odisha.
However, as per the plea, the petitioner would be in the zone of consideration for admission to NUJS if the 30 percent domicile reservation is applied. To buttress this case, Senior Advocate Partha Sarathi Sengupta highlighted that the object and purpose of the amendments is to compulsorily introduce domicile reservation in NUJS “at once.” In other words, the petitioner argued for the application of domicile reservation in NUJS from the current year itself.
However, this argument was contested by both NUJS, through Senior Advocate Pratik Dhar, and the State of West Bengal, through advocate Sirsanya Bhandopadhyay. It was pointed out that seat allocation pattern was already announced back in January 2019, before the introduction of domicile reservation. It was on the basis of this seat allocation that CLAT 2019 was conducted.
Further, it was emphasised that all the seats for the LLB course in NUJS have already been filled up and that the last person who would be admitted to NUJS would have a rank of 261. In this backdrop, it was contended that if domicile reservation is applied in the present year, it would encroach on All India Unreserved category seats that have already been filled up.
The Court, in turn, concurred with these submissions and dismissed the plea, ruling,
“In the event, the provisions of the Amendment Act are made applicable in the admission process pertaining to CLAT 2019, which had already commenced, about 30 seats would have to be taken away from the unreserved category and added to the LL.B (Domicile, W.B) category. This would disrupt the entire admission process. The candidates who have already exercised option and have been allotted seats in different Universities all over the country, would be seriously prejudiced. The adoption of such a procedure would be having the effect of alteration of the modalities of the admission process after the same had commenced.”