Not taking lightly any deviation from the set procedures or the convention on appointing of the Chancellor of the Universities throughout the country and with a view not to jump the set norms, the Governor of the State has sought certain clarifications and consequently withheld the mandatory assent to the Bill already having been passed by the State legislature for setting up of maiden Law University in Jammu and Kashmir.
The idea of the State having a separate Law University exactly on the pattern of National Law School of India University (NLSIU) Bangalore and National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR) Hyderabad was mooted out in early 2015 by the State Minister of Law who, shortly afterwards, leading a high level delegation toured Bangalore and Hyderabad to acquaint with the necessary modalities and other particulars to be adopted by the proposed Law University in the State. Since the State of Jammu and Kashmir is with commendable standards in education levels and the system and the students successfully competing in higher studies and even showing remarkable results in competitive examinations at all India level, it is but necessary to also impart the best legal education to the students of this State hence the composition of the first ever Law University.
Budget session of the State Legislature, in this connection, passed the Bill for establishing of a University of its first kind in the State to teach law and have allied disciplines related to law and justice with a view to mitigating the difficulties of the students in getting admission in different varsities of the country, desirous of getting quality and higher legal education. The move was further buttressed with the unanimous views expressed in All India Law Ministers Conference in which it was felt necessary for establishing of Law Universities in majority of States for imparting training and advanced education to the students and researchers so that quality of justice delivery system improved.
The Constitution of the State of Jammu and Kashmir provides for any Bill passed by the legislature to be sent to the Governor for obtaining his assent and in the instant case too, after the same procedure was adopted, Governor N.N.Vohra withheld his assent and sought certain clarifications on certain important points in respect of the Bill.
The main point of procedural discord is about the Chief Minister being recommended for the post of the Chancellor of the proposed University as against the Chief Justice of the concerned State. The Government, in its response, put forth the busy and hectic schedule of the State Chief Justice as the reason behind but the same fact, rather more in measure of it, is also true of the Chief Minister, so far as the busiest schedule is concerned. However, a sitting Judge of the J &K High Court was to be the part and parcel of the Executive Committee of the Law University , as such highest judiciary shall play its expected role in the upcoming university. The Government clarified further that the Chief Justice of India shall be occasionally visiting the Law University to share his views, guidance and suggestions.
However, the Governor did not feel inclined to give his assent to the Bill despite clarifications submitted by the State Government and instead has asked for a copy of the resolution of the All India Law Ministers’ Conference whereby establishment of the National Law Universities in maximum States was recommended by it. Interestingly, the State Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs does not have in its possession a copy thereof; it was going to get one from the Union Ministry to be submitted to the Governor.
In other words, it meant an element of uncertainty in terms of timeframe within which the Governor would accord the assent to the Bill. Since the matter, undoubtedly is important especially concerning education, training and research in a vast field like the law, it is the sole responsibility of the State Government to come out with concrete and cogent clarification to the satisfaction of the Governor to have his assent which could pave the way for early establishment of the Law University in Jammu and Kashmir.