The Orissa High Court has observed that a reservation for the non-resident Indian sponsored (NRIS) category for admission to national law universities is "unconstitutional" and an "affront to the meritorious candidates" who work hard to secure seats in these institutes through a common entrance test.
The court also said the consortium of national law universities (NLUs), the Bar Council of India and all other stakeholders involved in the process should revisit the NRIS reservation and prepare a proper regulation while implementing this quota.
Hearing a petition, a division bench comprising Justice Sanju Panda and Justice S K Panigrahi on Tuesday observed that the NRIS category is like a "reservation for the elite class".
"...we are constrained to observe that the NRIS category is an affront to the meritorious candidates who toiled day night to secure seats in NLUs through CLAT (Common Law Admission Test)," the bench observed.
The candidates belonging to the category of NRI or NRIS, who are very low-ranked in the merit list, often get seats in the NLUs, while the general candidates having secured better marks lag behind the reserved students and get disappointed, the court said.
"This is like the reservation for the elite class and this dubious category of quota is unconstitutional," the high court said.
The division bench also observed that the eligibility and selection under NRIS category are "unregulated, illegal and arbitrary".
Citing an observation by the Supreme Court of India in a case, the high court said that "admissions under this category is given to less meritorious students just because they could afford to pay the higher fees".
The court called upon the stakeholders especially the Bar Council of India which is mandated to regulate the legal education in this country, to ensure that a uniform and well- defined parameter is adopted so that the meritorious candidates do not suffer.
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