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Diversity of thought and background under threat: NLU Delhi students pen open letter to Delhi HC against proposed 50% domicile reservation

Bar & Bench

Students of the National Law University, Delhi (NLU Delhi) have addressed an open letter to the Delhi High Court, urging the Chief Justice and the High Court judges to intervene against the proposed 50% reservation for applicants who are residents of Delhi.

A notification to this effect was issued on January 14, this year, the letter informs.

AILET 2020 notification
AILET 2020 notification

Apart from registering protest against the move potentially jeopardising the ‘national’ character of NLU Delhi, the students have also raised concern that student applicants from Delhi cannot claim residential accommodation on the University campus. In view of the same, the letter dated January 20 states,

This is likely to cause great hardship to potential applicants from across the country, who are no longer guaranteed access to subsidized hostel facilities available to present undergraduate students in our University and other National Law Universities across the country.”

NLU Delhi website

The move has also triggered concern over the safety of women applicants who wish to study at NLU Delhi, particularly given that female students are already less in number presently.

“… the notification disproportionately impacts potential female applicants, who may be forced to lose out on quality education due to factors beyond their control, worsening the already skewed sex ratio prevailing within our university.”

The letter highlights that the total strength of female students for the undergraduate programme presently stands at 44%. Further that,

The percentage for the junior batches is even lower, with the batches expected to graduate in 2023 and 2024 consisting of only approximately 34% and 39% female students. Needless to say, this alarming trend shall only continue, if not worsen, if admissions are to take place on such conditions as are mentioned in the notification released on 14th January 2020.”

In view of the same, the Delhi High Court has now been urged to take steps to ensure that the residential and national character of NLU Delhi is not diluted.

“… our humble prayer is that the Hon’ble Court take such steps as it deems just and necessary for ensuring that the residential nature and national character of our university is not diluted, so as to maintain the high standards of education offered at our institution and to ensure that the same remains accessible to individuals from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, and not merely to those with the good fortune of having lived in a metropolitan city like Delhi, who form but a microscopic minority in our country still.”

Open letter by past and present students of NLUD

The letter also questions the need for domicile reservation on the ground that the majority of students and alumni of NLU Delhi are already resident in Delhi, even following graduation. The students ask,

Whence then, arise the need to have such institutionalized reservation for residents of the city in the first place?
Open letter by past and present students of NLUD

In this backdrop, the students also highlight that if the proposed move is carried out, it would make the ‘elite’ institution of NLU Delhi and ‘elitist’ one.

An additional concern raised is that the infrastructure and faculty strength at NLU Delhi is not sufficient to cater to an increased student population of 123.

An increase from the present strength of 83 will severely impact the quality of learning within the institution, thus defeating the purpose behind the establishment of our university.

The letter has been signed by over 145 past and present students of NLUD.

[Read the Letter]

Open Letter - re NLUD Domicile Reservation.pdf
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