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Karnataka government to introduce 25% reservation for local students at NLSIU Bangalore

Rintu Mariam Biju

Two years after a similar move failed to see the light of day, the Karnataka government is reportedly planning to introduce a Bill to provide 25% reservation for state domicile students at National Law School of India University (NLSIU) Bangalore. The Bill is expected to be moved during the next Assembly session.

Karnataka Law Minister JC Madhuswamy yesterday stated that The National Law School of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019 will be moved to provide reservation to those students who have studied in Karnataka for at least 10 years.

A similar attempt was made in 2017, when a bill titled the National Law School of India University (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was introduced, aiming to provide for 50% reservation for local students of the state.

However, the proposal was rejected and sent back by then Governor, Vajubhai Vala on technical grounds. He stated that that such a regional reservation could not be accepted. He further directed the government to push towards institutional reservation rather than regional reservation.

Keeping this in mind, Minister Madhuswamy was quoted as saying,

Hence, we have moved with institutional reservation and capped it at 25% for Karnataka students.

The 2017 Bill was met with opposition from both students and alumni of NLSIU. The law school's founding Vice-Chancellor, the late Prof Madhava Menon, were amongst those who opposed the move. He said back then,

"I am not in favour of it [domicile reservation] for the simple reason that it was conceived as a national institution. Doing anything to dilute that would not be welcome. Even otherwise, Karnataka students are coming in on merit in adequate numbers. It was not a demand from the Karnataka when it was started. If the government wanted, another campus could have been built. But NLSIU, being a model institution for the rest of the country, should remain a national institution.”

It is reported that Prof Sudhir Krishnaswamy, the present Vice-Chancellor of NLSIU, said he would comment on the government’s move only after studying the proposed Bill.

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