EWS Reservation in NLUs – Will the number of seats Change for CLAT 2019 ?

How will the 10% EWS reservation affect the number of seats in CLAT PG LLM and CLAT UG LLB

Human Resource and Development Minister Prakash Javadekar recently announced that the 10 per cent reservation in education to Economically Weaker Sections of general category will be implemented from the academic year 2019-20.

The intention is that nearly 25 per cent seats will be added to ensure that the reservation does not impact the existing quota for SC, ST and other categories. A supernumerary quota will be provided in around 40,000 colleges and 900 universities across the country.

As the table below shows, a 23% ~ 25% increase in the actual number of seats is required to maintain the current number of General Category seats.

** Scroll Left – Right to see the complete table below on mobile devices **

Current Reservation pattern
SeatsST 7.5%SC 15%OBC 27%GM 50.5%
EWS Reservation without Supernumerary seats
SeatsST 7.5%SC 15%OBC 27%EWS 10%GM 40.5%
EWS Reservation with 25% additional Supernumerary seats
SeatsST 7.5%SC 15%OBC 27%EWS 10%GM 40.5%

Since Central Universities, IITs and IIMs are among the higher educational institutions where the reservation will be implemented; it can be safely presumed that the Supernumerary quota will be eventually extended to the National Law Universities as well.

The key question here is “Will the new reservation result in an increase or decrease in the UG & PG General Category seats for the 2019-20 academic session in the NLUs / NLS ?”

The answers is not quite so simple; due to the various scenarios and factors at play.


‘National’ does not mean ‘Central’

While there are Twenty One ‘National Law Universities’ across India, in reality, they do not come under the classification of ‘Central Institutions’.

The NLUs and NLS were actually established by the various State Governments, by passing specific State Level Acts.

For example, NLSIU was established by the Government of Karnataka through the National Law School of India Act, 1986. NALSAR was established by the Government of Andhra Pradesh through the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research University Act, 1998.

The 10% reservation in the NLUs will therefore depend on how and when respective States choose to implement it.


The State Time-tables & Priorities

Technically, it is not mandatory for the States to immediately implement the 10 percent quota as per the Central Act. The States can also choose to modify the implementation according to their requirements.

While it is expected that all State Governments will eventually go with the flow and implement the new quota in the Institutions under their ambit, the time-lines will certainly be different.

The Government of Gujarat was first off the block and the CM Vijay Rupani has announced that the reservation will be implemented from the 14th of Jan 2019 onward.  Telangana is expected to be the second State to formally sanction the reservation policy in both Government Jobs and Educational Institutions.

Considering that some of the States are looking at modifying the threshold Income & Assets for eligibility under the new quota, the roll-out may take much longer than expected.

So, the actual implementation across the NLUs / NLS will not happen simultaneously. Each State Government will have to pass suitable legislation to implement the reservation in the institutions under their ambit – including the NLUs / NLS  in their State.


The Infrastructure issues

Adding the supernumerary seats involves a plethora of logistical issues.

First of all, the physical infrastructure will have to be expanded – class room seating capacity, hostels, canteens, IT infrastructure; all of the facilities will need to be upgraded to accommodate the additional intake.

Given that the NLUs will have to go through the process of budget allocations, calling for tenders, finalizing the contracts and other processes even before the actual expansion can begin, completion in time for the 2019-20 academic year may be difficult.

The newer NLUs could be better placed for an immediate expansion as they may have additional un-used capacity. However, the older NLUs will have several programs apart from the standard UG and PG courses which would have taken up any extra bandwidth.

The ageing infrastructure at the older NLUs will also mean that additional effort and planning may be required for any expansion. NLUs which have limited physical space may even need to go in for ‘Satellite Campuses’.


Staffing Challenges

The efficacy of any educational institution depends significantly on the quality of the Faculty and the Students. On-boarding quality faculty is by itself a time-consuming exercise.

25% additional seats will require a proportionate increase in the number of Academic and Administrative staff.

If all the NLUs, University Law Schools and other Law Colleges across the country are all looking at hiring experienced Law Faculty in a similar time-frame, there might be an availability issue in the immediate future.


Implementing the supernumerary seats before the expansion

Some of the State Governments may try to force-fit the additional EWS reservation even before the infrastructure and staff expansion happens.

The risk here would be a reduction in the academic standards and the entire ‘NLU / NLS Experience’ that is expected by all the stake-holders.

Crowded classrooms, inadequate infrastructure and insufficient staff may lead to unnecessary issues and distractions on the campus.


Implementing the reservation without the Supernumerary seats

This approach will certainly lead to a reduction in the actual number of seats currently open to General Merit candidates.

With no changes in the previous reservation pattern, carving out an additional 10% would have to be done from within the General category seats; which is not an ideal scenario.


Modifying the CLAT 2019 UG & PG application forms

The registration for the CLAT 2019 has commenced from the 13th of January 2019 and the current application form does not have any fields for the EWS reservation category. Several students would have already completed the online application process.

If some of the NLUs decide to implement the new quota from the 2019-20 academic year, the seats matrix needs to be updated accordingly – which will mean that the application forms will need to be updated and students who have previously completed their applications will have to fill-in the additional options.

While the criteria for being considered under EWS are being finalized at the Central Level, the States can choose to adapt them for their own requirements. This may mean that additional certifications, attestations and proofs may be required depending on specific NLUs.

Also, will the states interpret EWS reservation as open to candidates from across the country or will it be reserved based on specific domicile is yet to be seen.

To summarize :

  • While the initiative is laudable, there are several immediate implementation challenges in the EWS reservation.
  • Implementing the reservation without expansion will lead to reduction in the actual number of General Merit seats.
  • The expansion of the facilities and adding supernumerary seats is a process that may take several months at the earliest – which will mean that the actual implementation may happen only from the 2020-21 academic year.
  • All of the above will again depend on how the States choose to work towards the new reservation, their own time-lines and priorities.
  • Visit the official CLAT Consortium website for more details about the CLAT PG LLM entrance exam : https://clatconsortiumofnlu.ac.in

The List of NLUs / NLS and the State Government which oversees it / them :

NLS / NLUAbbreviationState
National Law School of India University, BangaloreNLSIUKarnataka
National Law Institute University, BhopalNLIUMadhya Pradesh
NALSAR University of Law, HyderabadNALSARTelangana
The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, KolkataNUJSWest Bengal
National Law University, Jodhpur, JodhpurNLUJRajasthan
Hidayatullah National Law University, RaipurHNLUChattisgarh
Gujarat National Law University, GandhinagarGNLUGujarat
Dr Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, LucknowRMLNLUUttar Pradesh
Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, PatialaRGNULPunjab
Chanakya National Law University, PatnaCNLUBihar
National University of Advanced Legal Studies, KochiNUALSKerala
National Law University, DelhiNLUDelhi
National Law University Odisha, CuttackNLUOOdisha
National University of Study and Research in Law, RanchiNUSRLJharkhand
National Law School and Judicial Academy, Assam, GuwahatiNLSJAAssam
Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, VisakhapatnamDSNLUAndhra Pradesh
Tamil Nadu National Law School, TrichyTNNLSTamil Nadu
Maharashtra National Law University, MumbaiMNLU, MumbaiMaharashtra
Maharashtra National Law University, NagpurMNLU, NagpurMaharashtra
Himachal Pradesh National Law University, ShimlaHPNLUHimachal Pradesh
Maharashtra National Law University, AurangabadMNLU, AurangabadMaharashtra
Dharmashastra National Law University, JabalpurDNLUMadhya Pradesh
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