Nationalise National Law Universities
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Following the protest at NUSRL Ranchi in April, the Student Bar Association of NLS, the Student Bar Council of NALSAR and Student Juridical Association of NUJS came up with a joint manifesto demanding the Institutions of National Importance status for National Law Universities.
Subsequently, to mark the start of the 'November Revolution' at NLIU Bhopal, the student bodies demanded the nationalisation of NLUs.
A private member's Bill to nationalise legal education was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Hon'ble Prof. (Dr.) Sugata Bose in March earlier this year:
1. Declaration of the NLUs as ‘Institutes of National Importance’ which further makes the Parliament competent to legislate on the subject.
2. Harmonization of objects, powers and functions of these Universities.
3. Reservation of seats for state domicile students to be decided by state order to be maximum of 50% of the seats.
4. Chief Justice of India is the Visitor of the Universities, having power of review work & progress of the Universities. The Chief Justice of the respective state is the Chancellor of the respective Universities, having powers of inspection.
5. Formation of a new National Council to harmonize working of the NLUs, advise on matters of the common admission test, resolve inter-NLU disputes, examine annual budget sessions and recommend to the Central Government allotment of funds. The Union Minister of Law is the Chairperson ex-officio. This does not infringe in any way on the power of the Bar Council of India to regulate legal education and it only to ensure proper functioning of the NLUs, not to decide on policy matters of legal education throughout the country or prescribe standards thereof.
6. All the existing authorities remain the same, i.e. the state retains control of the Universities. Such authorities and officers of the Universities are now standardized for NLUs. An ad-hoc sexual dispute redressal committee has been standardised.
7. The Act now allows for grants by the Central Government which the NLUs were in dire need of, maintenance of separate bank account, and provides audit of the accounts of the Universities by the Comptroller and Auditor General to be laid before the Parliament which ensures utmost transparency in the working of the NLUs.
8. The Act repeals all the existing Acts. Subsequent NLUs can be set up or removed by amending the schedule.
9. The scheme of the Act provides for a perfect federally divided structure of control of the Universities without changing the status quo and yet providing for co-ordination and harmony at national level. This Bill gives the much needed ‘national’ character of the Universities.
10. All state interests and sentiments have been duly considered and even the names of the NLUs have not excluded any names of persons put in by the states into their respective NLUs.
For a brief context on the reasons for this demand, read 'islands of excellence or despair?'.
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