By Ummar Jamal
IN 2018, people of J&K especially law students were hopeful when PDP-BJP coalition government, the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly passed the J&K National Law University Bill. After the act was passed by the legislative assembly, it needed the governor’s nod. The then governor N. N Vohra raised certain clarifications over the legislative proposal, owing to which, no progress was made during his tenure . However,on October 1 2019, Governor Satya Pal Malik gave assent to the bill for the establishment of a National Law University in Jammu and Kashmir.
Soon after the bifurcation of the erstwhile State into two Union Territories, after some amendments in J&K National Law University Act, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs formally adopted the Act.There has been an interlude of nearly two years since the Act was formally adopted by Ministry of Home Affairs but due to the Government’s dawdle, the establishment of National Law University in Jammu and Kashmir is still on the drawing board.
Twenty one states in India have already established NLUs. J&K, despite being the 12th largest among the 37 State/UT 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.
It is pertinent to mention here that while Karnataka got its National Law University in 1988, J&K is yet to get one even after an interlude of 34 odd years after the establishment of the first NLU, the National Law School of India University (NLSIU).
Currently, there are a total of twenty three national law universities in India. Maharashtra has 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, J&K is one of the eight disadvantaged (vis -a-vis legal education) states/UT in India including Arunachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand , Sikkim , Tripura, Mizoram ,Meghalaya and Manipur,which are yet to establish a National Law Universities.
The proposal for the 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 country. It was done with the aim to make the states without National Law Universities much the same as with other states where they already had the national law universities.
Presently, J&K has total number of three government Universities and seven private law colleges which offer the 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 student gives a student an edge over a non-NLU students. When it comes to placement in big law firms, students who acquire education in NLUs are given preference. NlUs have finest infrastructure and sprawling campuses. They are far more student-friendly than traditional universities because student bodies in NLUs elected by students themselves help students to put their needs and demands before the administration.
It is high time to improve legal education here in J&K. We need a National Law University to cater to the needs of the legal profession.
Recently, in January, the result of 07 district judges posts was declared. None of the 217 appearing candidates from J&K were able to qualify the exam. This points towards the fact that the standard of legal education in J&K is not good.
It is an earnest request to the government of union territory of J&K to hasten up and set up a National law University here, in order to bring J&K at par with other states.
Views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer
The author is law student at Kashmir University. He can be reached at [email protected]
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