Setting up of National Law University

Large number of students of the State continue to be impelled to seek admission in Universities in different parts of the country to pursue their studies in Law . To address this problem, a Bill for establishment of National Law University in the State of Jammu and Kashmir was introduced in the Legislature during the Budget Session held in the months of January – February last year on the ground that large number of students desirous to study Legal Education were compelled to take admission in different Universities across the country in the absence of a Law University in the State. The Bill was, however, passed by both the Houses of State Legislature early last year. However, its journey onwards stands halted at the entrance to the Raj Bhawan as the Bill duly passed is awaiting the approval of the Governor. A few years back, a resolution adopted by the All India Law Ministers’ Conference in this respect, therefore, could not be implemented so far .
While laying emphasis on the importance and the utility of the setting up of the Law University in Jammu and Kashmir , it can be seen that majority of the States were required to take the initiative in establishing such universities and how could the State not follow suit looking to the standard of education and the number of students pursuing higher studies in Law . The aim of taking such a step was to impart the requisite training and provide infrastructure for advanced education in justice delivery system to desirous and eligible students and researchers . With this background fully discussed in the State Legislature, the Bill was approved. The then Governor N .N. Vohra had to give his assent which he withheld for want of certain clarifications from the Government.
It is not that the clarifications sought were not of an important nature like addressing the deviation from the general pattern all over the country in respect of the post of the Chancellor of the proposed J&K National Law University. It is interesting to note that the then Government (Feb 2018) had proposed the State Chief Minister as Chancellor of the University while in other parts of the country, it is usually the Chief Justice of the concerned State. Perhaps in this case also the deviation from the prevalent practice could have been on account of nursing the “pleasures” of the ‘Special Status’ this State was enjoying under the constitution of India. However, the unconvincing plea was taken that the Chief Justice usually remained “busy” in handling judicial matters and attending the court regularly. Obviously, this argument did not cut much ice as there could be no other dignitary of the State as busy and as preoccupied as the State Chief Minister which resulted in deferring of the required assent from the Raj Bhawan.
Remaining committed to its stand on the subject, the Government further clarified that one sitting Judge of the J &K High Court would be part and parcel of the Executive Committee of the said University as such highest judiciary would play a key role in functioning of the university. The premise was, perhaps that the Judge would not be busy with the court work or perhaps would be relieved of the designated duties to exclusively look after the University. Not only this, the Government argued that even Chief Justice of India would be an (occasional) visitor of the proposed University to guide on important aspects. However, the then Governor was still not inclined to give his assent.
The State Governor, however, has enough powers even under the President’s rule to give assent to those Bills which stood already passed by the State Legislature and it is hoped that the concerned Bill could get his nod looking to the present Governor’s preference given to clearing pending matters which were of immense importance. Further, going by the fact of making the first ever Law Commission functional by making appointment of its Chairperson by him, the issue of the National Law University too could be resolved so that students of the State were relieved of the botheration of many hues in getting admission from different Universities for pursuing their studies .