Reservation quota and National Law Schools in India- An Analysis

Reservation quota and National Law Schools in India- An Analysis

Author: – Deepansh Shukla and edited by Abhavya Rabra

Orissa High Court, on October 23rd, held that the NRI quota provided for admission in ‘National Law Universities’ is ambiguous and unconstitutional as per the Indian law ( Ishika Patnaik v. NLU Odisha).  Two judges bench of SK Panigrahi and S Panda said it is dubious when they were examining, the petition moved by a ‘CLAT Aspirant’ who was not able to apply for the NRI-Sponsored category.

As per the latest data available, 2538 is the total number of seats available in 22 national law universities for UG courses across India. NLSIU (National Law University, Banglore) tops the list among those 22 colleges. Jabalpur being the newest and on the bottom of the list of National Law Universities. In recent, there are 724 total seats available for PG courses in CLAT. As per 2020, 75,183 students applied for the CLAT examination, while 78% appeared. As per the sources, there was a surge of 33% in the CLAT registration. If we examine the data, it reflects only 3.37% of the aspiring law students get into a law college.

India, in its long past, has experienced a prolonged period of divisions based on caste, gender, race, etc. Especially after the British set foot in India. As per the 2011 census, 16.6% and 8.6% are the populations of SC and ST respectively in India out of 1.32 billion people. They together comprise of 1/4th of India’s population. In NLSIU, there are 128 seats, 18 and 9 out of these seats are reserved for SC and ST respectively. 30 horizontal seat reservations for Karnataka domicile planned by NLSIU are on stay as per the order of the Learned Karnataka High Court. There are 108 seats in NALSAR, out of which 14 and 7 are reserved, for SC and ST. 36 seats are reserved, for women. Noticing, the trend seats reserved in the quota does not exceed 20%, which emphasizes that the National Law Universities in its policy formation took care that no meritorious, student belonging to the general category should suffer.

 As per my analysis, the per cent of the reserved seat is not a problem; the problem is the stagnant number of seats. Last year NLSIU took 120 entries, the growth in the number of seats in percentage is 6.66%, whereby there was an overall rise of 9.52% in the total seats in the CLAT, Increase of rounded of 10% seats enough to accumulate 33% of Increased Candidates? India and Legal Tech Start-ups are set to be a billion-dollar industry as there is a surge in general start-ups in India. As to keep pace with the rapid economic development in India, increasing the seats to accommodate more students is the right idea.

An NRI quota, a quota through which NRI funded students can get into National Law Universities was a dubious quota. Meritorious children lose a fair chance of competition, which should have been checked by regulatory bodies. This kind of quotas work as an err for the Indian legal education system.

The reservation which is provided to women, SC, and ST students with a domicile quota work fine till the time the total reservation of seats does not exceed 35%. The reservation if totalled comes up to 50% of total seats which means in the NLSIU general category students compete for 64 seats while registration being quadrupled. An efficient solution to this issue if not handled by reducing the reservation quota, can be done by rapidly expanding the National Institutes, which matches the current needs.  A side benefit of branching out the institutes is that the other parts of the country will see a boom in the local economy as more the students arrive; the more they contribute to the economy by consuming goods and services and shortly by selling services. A major focus of opening the universities being in the North- Eastern States. Besides the opening of a Law University in the Union Territories of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, Lakshadweep, and Daman and Diu.

Article 141 of the Indian Constitution allows every state to have a High Court. However, under Article 231, two or more states can have a common high court. Saying that India has 25 High Courts meanwhile 29 states, increasing the High Courts in those states which share common high courts will reduce the burden on the courts. Also, increasing the legal practices in the state motivating the firms to hire more and more law graduates, in turn, other universities graduates will have a better say allowing reducing the burden on the National law schools.

A final alternative solution is to increase the number of seats, As per BCI, The limit for the NLUs is between 120- 140. Drastically, increasing this number will come as an aid to both keeping par with the growing number of registrations for the CLAT examination also, they’ll hire more teachers which will bring a technological change. A change that is capable to revolutionise legal education in India, especially after the New Education Policy.

Legal education is on the road for growth in India if the problems we face in recent times are resolved India in the upcoming decades will be a hub to the legal firms which will work internationally replacing the USA as the largest market for lawyers. NLUs will replace the significance of Harvard if they quickly adapt to technological and cultural changes.

Image Source: – Live law.

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