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NLSIU’s founding Vice-Chancellor Prof NR Madhava Menon and the University’s Alumni have joined the clamour against the Karnataka government’s move to introduce fifty per cent reservation for state domicile candidates.
The Governing Body of the NLSIU Alumni Association (NLSIU AA) convened an emergency meeting noting that the Amendment Bill calling for state domicile reservation had been introduced in both houses of the State Legislature, sans any public consultation and barely any debate on the floor of the houses.
A letter written by the Alumni condemns the legislation as one that “undermines the very character and basis of the national institution that NLSIU has”.
And this is a point made by Prof Menon, who is credited with conceiving the idea of National Law Universities in India. Speaking to Bar & Bench, he said,
“I am not in favour of it 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.”
In a bid to safeguard the national character of the institution, the Alumni Association has resolved to persuade the Governor of the state to reject the proposed amendment. Should that fail, the Governing Board is prepared to spearhead a judicial challenge to the legislation.
The Governing Board has also called upon other alumni to come together and form an action committee. This committee will be co-convened by Citibank General Counsel Pramod Rao (class of ’96) and Senior Partner at Argus Partners Siddharth Raja (class of ’97).
However, there is some support for the new reservation policy. Retired Supreme Court judge Justice V Gopala Gowda is one of those who believe that it is a welcome move. During a recent interview, he recalled his efforts to put this reservation in place back when he attended the University’s meetings.
“In the General Council meetings, I used to say that state domicile reservation must be there for NLSIU. Article 15(4) calls for reservation and it applies to educational institutions, but it is not being implemented. It is the psyche of the upper class to deprive the legitimate right of the people who are deserving.”
While the Alumni, and earlier, the Student Bar Association have been more than vocal in expressing their opinion on the issue, the administration has maintained silence on the same. Efforts to reach Vice-Chancellor Prof Venkata Rao and other members of the administration have borne little fruit.
Read the Alumni Association’s letter: