The Division Bench comprising of Rajiv Sharma and Lok Pal Singh, JJ. directed the State Government to start the National Law University (NLU) in the State within three months from the date of judgment and to run the University from the government buildings or by hiring a private accommodation. Court further mentioned that the first academic session shall start from September 2018 and necessary permission shall be obtained.
Since the common questions of law and facts are involved, the present petitions have been taken up together and are being decided by this common judgment. Two Writ Petitions were combined as follows:
- Writ Petition (PIL) No.127 of 2014 Bhupal Singh Bhakuni Versus State of Uttarakhand & others
- Writ Petition (PIL) No.196 of 2014 Dr. Mahendra Singh Pal Versus State of Uttarakhand & others
A question of great public importance has been raised in this writ petition for establishment of National Law University. The grievance of the petitioners, precisely, is that though the National Law University of Uttarakhand Act, 2011 (Uttarakhand Act No.11 of 2011) has been promulgated and came into force but despite that, the State Government has not established the National Law University in the State of Uttarakhand. The National Law University of Uttarakhand Act, 2011 has come into force vide notification dated 21.04.2011. This Court has passed a number of orders, but no steps were taken pursuant to the orders passed by this Court from time to time.
According to the averments made in the counter affidavit by respondents, as per Section 3(4) of the National Law University of Uttarakhand Act, 2011, it is provided that the Head Office of the University shall be at Bhowali, Nainital. But, The Director, Uttarakhand Judicial and Legal Academy (UJALA) Bhowali brought to the notice that the land required for the establishment of the University is not available at Bhowali, therefore, the head office of the University could be established at Pant Nagar after making required amendments in the Act of the University. Thereafter, the proposal was sent to the G.B. Pant University.
However, the University, for the reasons best known to it, declined the proposal on 26.12.2013. Thereafter, the District Magistrate, Nainital, vide letter dated 13th August 2014, communicated the Director, UJALA that the minimum required land was 10 acres. The same was not available at Bhowali. Thereafter, on 14.8.2014, a meeting was held regarding the selection of land for the University.
While the petitioner has suggested the land available to the State Government. The petitioner has suggested that if the land is not available at Bhowali, there are about 1500 acres of land available at G.B. Pant University, Pant Nagar, District Udham Singh Nagar.
The District Magistrate was confronted with the directions issued by this Court vide judgment dated 21.2.2014 in WPMS No.962 of 2005.
According to the petitioner, it is evident from the directions issued by this Court on 21.2.2014 that sufficient land is available in District Udham Singh Nagar. The land available is more than 1800 acres. The land required for the University is only 10 acres.
Also, The Petitioner has suggested four alternative sites in the supplementary affidavit as follows:
- State Vaccine Institute, Patwadangar (9 km. from Nainital to Haldwani road)
- Agricultural Science Center, Jeolikote
- T.B. Sanatorium, Bhowali
- U.P. Agro under the Mandi Parishad, Uttarakhand
Observation Of The Court
It is an admitted fact that there is no National Law University in the State of Uttarakhand. The State Government promulgated the Ordinance in the year 2010. It is strange that till date, the University has not been established. There is a long unfruitful correspondence entered into between the various functionaries of the State Government with the Director, UJALA. The consistent stand of the respondent-State, as per the affidavits, is that the land is not available at Bhowali or at Pant Nagar (District U.S. Nagar). It may be that the land is not available at Bhowali but it is difficult to believe that the land is not available in the entire State for the establishment of the University.
The bench noticed the fact that the Petitioner has also suggested various other places where the University could be established. The laudable object, to be achieved by the enactment, has not been achieved by the State functionaries. The necessity for having the National Law University in the State of Uttarakhand is that the new State was created under the U.P. Reorganization Act, 2000. The students of the State of Uttarakhand are also to be imparted quality legal education. There is dearth/shortage of law universities. The purpose of establishment of the National Law University was to enhance the standard of legal education.
The Bench allowed both these petitions by issuing the following mandatory directions: –
- The State Government is directed to start the National Law University in the State within three months from today.
- The respondent-State is directed to run the University from the government buildings or by hiring a private accommodation at a reasonable rate.
- The State of Uttarakhand is directed to raise construction for the University preferably in Tarai area including in District Udham Singh Nagar where the government land measuring about 1800 acres is available.
- The first academic session shall start in September 2018. Necessary permission shall be obtained by the National Law University from the Bar Council of India.
- The respondent-State, to date, has not framed the Regulations as per the Universities Act. The respondent-State is directed to frame the regulations within a period of one month from today. All the appointments in the University shall be made as per the Universities Act and the Regulations, framed thereunder, within a period of three months from today including the appointment of teaching faculty and ministerial staff.
All pending applications stand disposed of.
The purpose of establishment of the National Law University was to enhance the standard of legal education. There are always teething problems as and when a new establishment including a University is to be set up. This could be overcome if there was a will of the State to establish/start the University as per Section 3 of the Act of 2011. The University could be established and thereafter the classes could start in any government building or rented accommodation.
The court took a critical view of the consistent stand of the state that there is no land available in Bhowali or Pant Nagar to establish the University.
Red-Tapism leads to delay in work. It further remarked that the current PIL has been pending before the Court for 4 years now and that due to the State’s lethargy, “brilliant students of the State have been deprived of getting the standard legal education under the National Law University.