The Bar Council of India (BCI) has moved a petition before the Karnataka High Court challenging the 25% domicile reservation introduced at the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore (Bar Council of India vs State of Karnataka).
The plea filed by BCI, through Advocate Shridhar Prabhu states that without prior consultation, the State of Karnataka went ahead and enacted the National Law School of India (Amendment) Act, 2020 on April 27, 2020.
The NLSIU Amendment Act provides for horizontal reservation for students who have studied in Karnataka for over 10 years preceding the CLAT 2020.
The BCI argues that the NLSIU Amendment Act is a serious interference and an infringement into the statutory duties of the BCI, besides being unconstitutional, untenable and illegal.
The plea further argues that the NLSIU was conceived to be a model national institution for legal education.
“Its national character is innate to its constitution. Once national character is compromised, the very purpose for which the second respondent (NLSIU) was established will stand completely defeated.” states BCI in its plea.
It is added that the NLSIU is a living embodiment and manifestation of the BCI’s statutory functions under the Advocates’ Act, 1961. Hence, the State Government’s amendment is nothing short of an interference into the BCI’s statutory functioning, the plea states.
The BCI also contends that the proposed horizontal reservation is completely against the existing entrance regime for the NLSIU, i.e., Common Law Admission Test (CLAT).
Concern is further registered over how the percentage of reservation set out for students of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe categories in the State would be affected by the amendment. The BCI’s plea reads,
“This scheme is really hit by the Judgment of this Hon’ble Court in the case Lolaksha vs The Convenor in which it was held that SC-STs of Karnataka alone are entitled to 100% reservation in the 2nd respondent institution under the SC-ST category. Thus, the 2020 Act is an attempt to nullify the judgment of this Hon’ble Court by curbing the 100% entitlement of the Karnataka SC-ST students to 25%.”
In view of these submissions, the BCI has challenged the NLSIU Amendment Act.
The BCI has also made a prayer to quash the revised seat matrix for BA.LLB (Hons) and LLM programs, which was issued by NLSIU vide notification dated August 4 following the 2020 Amendment.
The matter is expected to be taken up tomorrow, August 13 by Justice Krishna Dixit.