SC Issues Notices To 6 NLUs In Petition By IDIA Trainee On 5% Quota for Specially-Abled

SC Issues Notices To 6 NLUs In Petition By IDIA Trainee On 5% Quota for Specially-Abled

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to six national law universities (NLUs) in a writ petition filed by a trainee of non-profit organisation Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education (IDIA) seeking implementation of the 5 per cent reservation quota for specially-abled students. The bench comprising Justice SA Bobde and Justice LN Rao observed that the benefit may not be extended to the petitioner this year as the admission process is almost complete. The bench also observed that in another matter it is seized of a similar prayer.

Representing the petitioner, advocate Namit Saxena responded that there still may be a chance for an upgrade in the final list. He further submitted that in a PIL filed by Managing Trustee of IDIA Charitable Trust Shamnad Basheer, the court had made all admissions under the quotas for Persons with Disabilities (PwD) and Non-Resident Indians (NRI) subject to the outcome of the petition. The bench then proceeded to issue notice and tagged the matter with the PIL filed by Shamnad Basheer.

Among the six NLUs are Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur; Maharashtra National Law University, Aurangabad; Maharashtra National Law University, Nagpur; National Law University, Orissa; and National University of Study and Research in Law,  Ranchi.

The petition avers that RPwD Act came into force from December 30, 2016. Hence, it was not applicable to CLAT 2017. However the same is squarely applicable to CLAT 2018. Section 32 of the RPwD Act states that all Government institutions of higher education and other higher education institutions receiving aid from the Government shall reserve not less than five per cent seats for persons with benchmark disabilities (“PwBD”).

The Supreme Court vide its judgment dated 15.12.2017 in Disabled Rights Group & Anr. vs. Union Of India & Ors. (Writ Petition (Civil) No. 292 of 2006) had directed that all the institutions covered by the obligations provided under Section 32 of the Act shall comply with the provisions of Section 32 while making admission of students in educational courses of higher education each year, failing which, an appropriate consequential action against those educational institutions, as provided under Section 89 of the Act as well as other provisions, shall be initiated against defaulting institutions.

The petition further contends that despite the mandate of the RPwD Act as well as the directive of the Supreme Court, many of the NLUs have failed to provide a minimum reservation of 5% for the PwBD.

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