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"NLS has changed the face of legal education in India. NLS is a successful experiment, which was undertaken by BCI", ASG Vikramjit Banerjee argued.
The Bar Council of India (BCI) on Wednesday submitted before the Karnataka High Court that National Law School of India University, Bangalore (NLSIU) is an autonomous institution that has been established by it.
Representing the BCI during yesterday's hearing, Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Banerjee said,
"NLS is an autonomous institution, established by the Bar Council of India, set up in Bangalore...NLS was shifted to Bangalore on the assurance that it would be an autonomous University. NLS has changed the face of legal education in India. NLS is a successful experiment, which was undertaken by BCI.....NLS is a model institution, which we set up."
These submissions were made before a Bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Ravi Hosmani, which was hearing a batch of pleas challenging the 25% domicile reservation at NLSIU.
During the course of the hearing, while referring to the lease agreement, Banerjee argued that the lease was signed before the NLSIU Act came into effect, and that the land for the University was given to the Bar Council of India Trust.
He further said that the Amendment Act goes against the object and spirit of the Parent Act, i.e., the NLSIU Act.
Banerjee went on to argue that the state government could make reservations in state-funded institutions. However, in the case of NLSIU, the State was a mere facilitator.
"NLS is not a State Enterprise", submitted the ASG.
As the hearing progressed, Banerjee added,
ASG Vikramjit Banerjee
The Court then asked,
"Does State have the competence to make this reservation?"
"State does not have the competence....because of the unique nature of NLS. Any reservation in NLS will be against the objective of the NLSIU Act. State does not have power to dilute the provisions of the Act."
Advocate Shridhar Prabhu also made submissions on behalf of BCI.
Prabhu submitted that students under the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe categories, in order to avail reservation, have to be from Karnataka. In this light, he submitted,
"...Where is the need for making additional horizontal reservation for Karnataka students?"
During the hearing, the Bench also posed questions on the 5% percent concession to be given to Karnataka students, within the 25% domicile reservation.
As the hearing drew to a close, Prabhu pushed for staying the seat matrix of NLSIU which included the 5% concession for Karnataka students. "Otherwise, it may create anomalies", said Prabhu.
The Court expressed that it wanted to hear the state government before passing an interim order.
The state government will make its submissions on Monday, August 31.
The matter has been next posted for hearing on August 27.