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Delhi HC issues notice in plea challenging 50% domicile reservation at National Law University, Delhi

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court today issued notice in petitions filed by students and alumni of National Law University, Delhi (NLU Delhi) challenging the move to introduce 50% domicile reservation at the University (Balvinder Sangwan & Ors vs GNCT of Delhi & Ors).

A Division Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad today listed both the petitions for arguments on June 25.

The petitioners have challenged the 50% horizontal reservation for Delhi-based candidates on the ground that it is contrary to the statutory mandate of the National Law University Act, 2007.

Submitting that the statutory objective of the Act was to create a "national institution of excellence in the field of legal education", the petitioners have contended that the reservation policy would change the national character of NLU Delhi and reduce it to a regional day college.

It is also argued that the quantum of reservation is excessive and unreasonable, with no rational nexus to the objectives that the statute aims to achieve.

It was noted that apart from current students, three alumni of the varsity were also named as petitioners in one of the pleas. However, after a preliminary objection against their locus was raised by the Delhi government, counsel for the petitioners Advocate Nipun Saxena informed the Court that he was willing to delete the names of petitioners who have already graduated from the University.

Saxena sought to justify the locus of the students on the ground that the University was not geared-up to cater to the increased number of students due to the reservation policy. It was apprehended that this increase in the number of seats would put a strain on available facilities and faculty.

While issuing notice, the Court granted liberty to the parties in both petitions to file their written submissions not exceeding three pages beforehand, in order to reasonably curtail final arguments through video conferencing.

Apart from registering protest against the move for potentially jeopardising the ‘national’ character of NLU Delhi, the students also raised concern of lack of infrastructure and faculty strength, denial of hostel facility, and safety of women students.

The Delhi government was represented by Standing Counsel Ramesh Singh.

NLU Delhi was represented by Advocates Sanjay Vashishtha and SD Sharma.

Earlier this year, the students of NLU Delhi had addressed an open letter to the Delhi High Court, urging the Chief Justice and the High Court judges to intervene against the proposed 50% domicile reservation.

Last month, an LL.M. aspirant had also moved the High Court against the newly introduced reservation policy.

Read the Order:

Balvinder Sanghwan & Ors vs GNCT of Delhi & Ors.pdf
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