Say NO to Domiciliary Reservation in National Law University Jodhpur

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Sub: Petition against reservation based on domicile of students in the National Law University, Jodhpur as being against the nature and character of the institution, as well as against the ethos and spirit of the Constitution of India.

We the alumni of the National Law University, Jodhpur write to you in reference to the subject above.

  1. It has recently been in the news that the Government of Rajasthan is planning to introduce a 25% quota in the National Law University, Jodhpur for candidates having state domicile and the issue is pending consideration before the Executive Council of the University. At the outset, we humbly state that any such proposal of reservation based on domicile is completely against the character and diverse ethos of the National Law University, Jodhpur.
  2. We as the alumni take pride in associating ourselves to the University which has had an amalgam of the best and sharpest minds from across the country. It is in such a diverse environment that we all have been bred and educated and which has not only exposed us to the various cultures of India but has also helped us shape our personal character. In no small measure, this is attributable to the national character of the varsity.
  3. Mr. N. R. Madhava Menon, who was the founding vice chancellor of the National Law School of India University, Bangalore and is credited for conceptualising National Law Schools in India, in the context of provision of domiciliary reservation in National Law School, Bangalore stated as under:

    “I am not in favour of reservation for the simple reason that it would dilute the very spirit of the national institution, which was set up in 1986 when late Ramakrishna Hegde was chief minister. NLSIU, being a model institution for the rest of the country, should remain a national institution and students should earn admission on merit rather than the place of domicile or birth.”
  4. The same holds equally true for our alma mater, which is undoubtedly an institute of national and international repute and which must continue to place merit over domicile or birth in order to maintain its reputation as a foremost legal institution.
  5. We have no doubt that domicile based reservation will dilute the national character of the University and will deter capable young students to even consider the National Law University, Jodhpur as a prospective college, thus weakening its very foundation, well rooted in placing merit over any other consideration.
  6. Additionally, a 3-judge bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Dr. Pradeep Jain v. Union of India & Ors., (1984) 3 SCC 654 had as far back as the 1980s struck a note of caution with respect to the domicile based reservations in the following terms:

    Para 8:
    “Article 5 of the Indian Constitution is clear and explicit on this point and it refers only to one domicile, namely, “domicile in the territory of India”... The concept of domicile if used for a purpose other than its legitimate purpose may give rise to lethal radiations which may in the long run tend to break up the unity and integrity of the country. We would, therefore, strongly urge upon the State Governments to exercise this wrong use of the expression 'domicile' from the rules regulating admissions to their educational institutions and particularly medical colleges and to desist from introducing and maintaining domiciliary requirement as a condition of eligibility for such admissions.”
  7. This holds even more true for legal institutions which nurture future lawyers and lawmakers who pledge to uphold the unity and integrity of India.
  8. It may also be noted that such an idea fails to address the notion that it will benefit the unprivileged sections of the state. In fact, privileged candidates from the state will be at an obvious advantage. Any such amendment is likely not to pass muster of Article 14 of the Constitution of India as arguably, Rajasthan is no longer a backward state and even otherwise, there is no overarching state interest in the instant case. Rather, as stated above, it is more likely that meritorious students from all over the country studying in the institution would, over a longer period of time, have a closer connection with the state and benefit it in the longer run.
  9. We humbly state that any such move to introduce reservation which is based on domiciliary requirements and does not incentivise merit does not suit the character of a progressive institution such as ours.
  10. We request you to take appropriate action in this regard and join us in taking pride over the institute of national and international eminence that the National Law University, Jodhpur is and accordingly call upon you to reject the idea of domiciliary reservation unequivocally.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Alumni, National Law University, Jodhpur