Delhi High Court: No Tearing Hurry to Roll out 50% Reservation for Locals This Academic Year

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Delhi HC observed that NLU Delhi succumbed to the pressure exerted by the Delhi Government. It was while staying the move to introduce a 50% horizontal reservation for local candidates. The Court granted interim relief to the Petitioners (Balvinder Sangwan v. NCT of Delhi & Ors).

Facts of the case

The students of NLU Delhi had filed a petition against the introduction of a 50% horizontal reservation at the University. It was for candidates who cleared their qualifying examinations from institutes in Delhi. Pia Singh is one of the petitioners. She intended to pursue an LL.M. from NLU Delhi after graduating from a University in Rajasthan.

Arguments

The petitioners contended that the reservation was contrary to the NLU Delhi Act. They prayed to declare it as being void and ultra vires of the National Law University Act, 2007. Further, it violates Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

The petitioners have also prayed that the Delhi Government or the Directorate of Higher Education are not in the power to interfere in the administrative and functional autonomy of NLU, Delhi.

The Delhi Government stated that the decision was in furtherance of its reservation policy in all state universities. The respondents also contended that the alumni of NLU Delhi – had no locus standi.

Court’s Decision

The Court said that the petitioners cannot be treated as meddlesome interlopers. They are not busybodies who have nothing to do with the functioning of the University. They are also concerned with the increase in the number of seats which will affect the existing infrastructure of the University.

The Court stated that it appears that NLU Delhi succumbed to the pressure that was being exerted by the Delhi Government only to buy peace without awaiting the recommendations of the Committee.

The Court said that when a statute provides for a thing to be in a particular manner, it has to be done in that manner only. It concluded that the impugned decision prima facie violated the NLU Delhi Act. The Court observed that if the decision did not stay, grave prejudice would occur.

Thus the order of the Court says, “Status quo ante as of the previous academic year shall be maintained for making admissions to the BA LL.B and LL.M in NLU Delhi, for the academic year 2020-21.”

The Court directed NLU Delhi to issue a public notice on or before 02.07.2020, informing the public at large about the decision taken above. Further, granting a further period of one week from the date of issuance of public notice to enable interested candidates to submit their applications for admission.

The redrawn schedule will not interfere with the entrance examinations, for ones which are to take place in August 2020, the Court clarified.


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