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J&K needs its own National Law University

J&K needs its own National Law University

J&K needs its own National Law University

In the year 2018, the people of J&K, especially law students, were overjoyed when under the PDP-BJP coalition government, The J&K National Law University Bill was passed by the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly. 

After the passage of the Act in the assembly, when it needed the Governor’s nod, the then governor NN Vohra raised certain clarifications over the legislative proposal .Owing to this, no progress vis-à-vis establishment of National Law University could be made during his tenure. However, Governor Satya Pal Malik on October 1, 2019, gave assent to a bill for establishing a National Law University in Jammu and Kashmir.

Soon after the bifurcation of the erstwhile J&K State into two Union Territories, some amendments were made in J&K National Law University Act and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs formally adapted the Act. There has been interlude of nearly two years since then but the National Law University in Jammu and Kashmir is still on the drawing board.

Twenty-one states in India already have established NLUs. J&K despite being the 12th largest among the 37 States/UTs in terms of geographical area and 19th in terms of population with more than 14 million people is yet to have its own National Law University. 

While Karnataka got its National Law University in 1988, J&K is yet to get one even after interlude of 34 odd years after establishment of the first NLU, the National Law School of India University (NLSIU).

Currently there are total twenty-three national law universities in India. Maharashtra is having two National Law Universities; one in Mumbai and one in Nagpur. The state of Uttar Pradesh is set to establish its second National Law University. 

However, erstwhile state of J&K is one of the eight disadvantaged (vis-a-vis legal education) states/UTs in India, which include Arunachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Sikkim, Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Manipur, which are yet to establish a National Law University. 

The proposal for establishment of National Law University in J&K traces its origin to the resolution moved by the ‘’All India Law Ministers Conference’’ in 1995. 

It was unanimously resolved to establish a law school in each state modelled on the National Law School University for raising the standard of professional legal education across the country. 

It was done with the aim to bring the states without National Law Universities on par with other states that had national law universities.

J&K has a total of three government universities and seven private law colleges which offer law course like LLB and BA.LL.B etc. 

Government universities include University of Kashmir, University of Jammu, Central University of Kashmir, and private law colleges include Kashmir Law College, Vitasta School of Law and Humanities, Kashmir Creative Education Foundation (KCEF) Law College, Sopore Law college in Kashmir division, and KC Law College, Dogra Law College and Ashoka Law College in Jammu division.

But the aforementioned government universities and private law college in J&K are in no way comparable with the National Law Universities. 

The government universities and private law colleges here are more focused on teaching theory and hardly give any training for mooting, debating and stuff. Their pedagogy and teaching method are antiquated. Here in most of colleges internship is an unheard concept. Thus, J&K is in desperate need of an NLU.

Studying in an NLU, a student gets an edge over non-NLU students. When it comes to placement in big law firms, students who acquire education in NLUs are given preference. NLUs have the finest infrastructure and sprawling campuses. 

NLUs are far more student-friendly than traditional universities because student bodies in NLUs are elected by the students themselves, which enables the students to put their needs and demands before the administration. Faculty and facilities of NLUs are nonpareil.

It is high time to improve legal education in UT of J&K. We need a National Law University to cater to the needs of the legal profession and judiciary here. Recently in January the result of 7 district judges posts was declared. 

None of the 217 appearing candidates from J&K was able to qualify the exam. This is a pointer towards the fact that the standard of legal education in J&K is not hunky-dory.

It is my earnest request to the government of union territory of J&K to take steps to post-haste set up a National law University in order to bring J&K at par with other states which already have National Law Universities.(KashmirReader) 

The writer is a student of Law at Kashmir University and spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir Students Association. He tweets at ummar_jamal and can be reached at umarjamal968@gmail.com

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