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Delhi Government Challenges NLUD’s Admission Notice Without OBC and EWS Quota

BACKGROUND

In the case of Balvinder Singh Sangwan v. NCT of Delhi, on June 29, 2020, the High Court of Delhi ordered National Law University, Delhi to maintain the same status for admissions as of the previous year and stays 50% reservation for Delhi students. HC directed NLUD to issue notification regarding admission on its website. On June 30, 2020, NLUD issued admission notification and removed vertical reservation for OBC and EWS categories. Delhi government has submitted that the guidelines of the university to eliminate 22% reservation for OBC and 10% reservation for EWS in its admission notification on June 30 is not the correct interpretation of the court’s order and goes against the university’s constitutional and statutory obligations.

CONTENTIONS BY DELHI GOVERNMENT

It was argued by the Delhi government that the university is statutorily bound to provide vertical reservation to OBC under Central Education Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006. Further, it was stated by Delhi Government that by its revised notification the university is implicitly discouraging applications from candidates that hail from EWS and OBC sections of the society. Therefore, the Delhi government contended the court to stay the operation of the revised admission notice dated 30 June 2020 till the final disposition of the present (Delhi Government’s) application.

The Delhi government’s application moved in the pending writ petition titled Balvinder Singh v. NCT of Delhi.

FINAL DECISION

NLU Delhi was represented by Advocate Sanjay Vashishth. The court questioned the council as to how the university arrived at the conclusion that even OBC and EWS reservations had stayed. It was argued by counsel for NLUD that the court-ordered for maintenance of ‘status quo ante as of the previous academic year’. The court further stated that the university interpreted the order wrongly if the university was not clear with directions of the court, they had to come to the court. The court order was only on stay with respect to horizontal reservations and the same was clear in the judgment.

NLUD also submitted that OBC reservations could be rolled out in a phased manner, and increasing the seats would also result in restraints related to infrastructure. Thus, the court finally stated that if the university has any problem, they have to deal with it legally, not by canceling the reservation. Therefore, the court directed NLUD to issue the revised notification for admission and clarify the reservation for the students under the OBC and EWS category.

Also, as per the Court’s order, the revised notification should be placed before the next date of hearing on JULY 13, 2020.

ANALYSIS

It was clearly mentioned by Court in the decision of case Balvinder Singh v. NCT of Delhi that the stay was only on the horizontal 50% reservation for Delhi students in NLUD and not on the vertical reservation for 22% OBC and 10% EWS students. The notification was a complete misreading of the interim order. The interim order of High Court came on a plea by NLUD students and alumni who challenged the reservation decision saying it “strikes at the heart of the national character and the standards of excellence” of the university.

The state adopted the policy to provide reservation for candidates passing the qualifying examination situated within NCT Delhi. Also, as the state provides funds to NLUD, it can certainly lay down the criteria for admissions. The interest of the government should be protecting the policy in accordance with the law and no interference should be there.

Therefore, the petition contended that NLUD’s decision to introduce the reservation from the academic year 2020-21 was “unconstitutional and illegal” and the court’s decision was just, fair and in accordance with the law.

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