Litigation News

[NLSIU 25% Domicile Reservation] In last ten years, out of 800 graduates, only 33 enrolled with State Bar: AG Navadgi to Karnataka HC

The state government had enacted the reservation with a view to increase the number of students willing to stay back in Karnataka, argued Navadgi.

Rintu Mariam Biju

The state government on Monday informed the Karnataka High Court that National Law School of India University (NLSIU) is not an Institute of Eminence.

Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi, appearing for the state government, stated that though NLSIU is an institute of excellence, it is not an an institute of eminence. The law only recognizes institutes of eminence, added Navadgi.

“Though we can say it (NLSIU) is an institute of Excellence, law recognizes only Institute of Eminence or Institutes of National importance. But it does not mean that this is not an institution of special significance. We are proud of it, but Institutes of national importance have their own significance in law. Like AIIMS and etc are included in the list of Institutes of National Importance. IISC Bangalore, IIT Mumbai are all recognized as institutes of importance.”

Further, AG Navadgi said NLSIU is a state university and that it was recognized as such by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Adding to his contentions, AG Navadgi submitted that one of the primary reasons for enacting NLSIU Amendment Act, 2020 was to retain larger number of students in the state.

"Policy of the State is to bring reservation for students of Karnataka", submitted Navadgi.

This aspect of institutional preference is accepted by Apex Court, and is not limited to medical institutions, he added.

On this submission, the Bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Justice Ravi S Hosamani remarked,

"The object of establishing NLS was not to provide reservation for Karnataka Students."

On the condition requiring a student to have studied for 10 years in the state in order to avail the domicile reservation at NLSIU, AG Navadgi explained,

"If a student has studied from class 1-10 in Karnataka and PU 1&2 - he does it outside, on plain reading, he will be eligible for reservation. Object of reservation is to ensure that we have a candidate who has studied for 10 years in Karnataka. It need not be conjunctive."

Further, AG Navadgi submitted that around 80 students pass out of NLS every year. For the past 10 years, around 800 students have graduated, out of which only 33 students have enrolled with the State Bar, he claimed.

The state government had enacted the reservation with a view to increase the number of students willing to stay back in Karnataka, argued Navadgi.

Another argument made by AG Navadgi was that the current reservation scheme was not violative of Article 15.

He said that the Amendment Act does not come under the scope of Article 15(1). The Supreme Court has specifically held in the case of Pradeep Jain, that Article 15 does not apply to institutional reservation, submitted Navadgi.

Arguments in the matter will continue today.

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