The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday (September 8) granted an interim stay on providing 25% domicile reservation for students at the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru.
The decision comes close on the heels of the Delhi High Court staying a similar domicile reservation (50%) at the National Law University, Delhi, in June this year.
The high court bench headed by Justices BV Nagarathna and Ravi Hosmani passed the interim order In view of NLSIU preparing for a separate National Law Aptitude Test (NLAT) scheduled on September 12.
The division bench also directed NLSIU to prepare a new seat list. According to Bar and Bench, a legal news platform, the High Court said the admission list prepared by NLSIU will be provisional and will be subject to the final orders of the Court.
The Court also stayed the 5% concession in marks for Karnataka students. Besides, it clarified that they had not issued any interim order to increase the number of seats from 80 to 120.
The Karnataka cabinet approved an amendment to this effect in the National Law School of India University Act, 1986, earlier this year amid opposition from within the University board and the students community.
Similar reservations exist at the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata, which has 30% of seats kept aside for domiciles.
Related news: Karnataka moots 25% reservation for locals in law school
In Delhi, the National Law University students wrote an open letter to Delhi High Court chief justice asking him to intervene, before the Court stayed the domicile reservation.
Meanwhile, NLSIU has been mired in controversy ever since the vice-chancellor announced a separate entrance test to be held on September 12.
Since 2008, admissions to NLSIU, like any other law university, were based on the scores of the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), which was originally scheduled to be held in May. However, the corona pandemic forced the consortium of law universities to delay the exam indefinitely.
The NLSIU decided to conduct its own test – a new admissions procedure for the BA, LLB, and LLM candidates – through a new entrance examination: the National Law Aptitude Test (NLAT) 2020-2021, instead of holding the centralized CLAT. The decision, NLSIU argued, was to avoid ‘zero year’ with no admissions.
Following the NLSIU’s decision, the consortium of National Law Universities decided to divest Professor Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Vice-Chancellor of National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru, of his function as the secretary and treasurer of the consortium. The consortium was not aligned with the views and decision of NLSIU, Bangalore, to conduct a separate test.
The matter reached the Supreme Court as an aggrieved parent of a CLAT aspirant filed a petition on Tuesday challenging the sudden withdrawal of NLSIU Bangalore from CLAT 2020 and holding the NLAT instead.