Approved in 2019, no headway on setting up of National Law University in J&K UT

Delay despite adaptation of law of erstwhile State by MHA

JAMMU: Due to dilly-dallying approach of the Government of Union Territory, there is no headway on setting up of National Law University in Jammu and Kashmir despite approval to the Act in 2019 and adaptation of law of the erstwhile State by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

The Jammu and Kashmir National Law University Bill was passed by the Legislative Assembly in the year 2018 when PDP-BJP Government was ruling the then State. However, the then Governor N N Vohra raised certain clarifications over the legislative proposal as a result of which no further progress could be made.

However, the bill was given approval by last Governor of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir Satya Pal Malik in October 2019—before formal implementation of J&K Reorganization Act, 2019.

It was officially stated at that time that this move will bring J&K at par with other States where National Law Universities have been established. The proposal owed its origin to the resolution moved by the ‘All India Law Ministers Conference’ in mid-nineties, wherein, it resolved to set up in each State a Law School modelled on the lines of National Law School University for improving quality of professional legal education.

Following bifurcation of erstwhile State into two Union Territories, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs formally adapted the J&K National Law University Act but only in the context of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and even amended certain provisions thus bringing the legislation at par with the regulations for such institutions in other parts of the country.

In the un-amended Act, Chief Minister was mentioned as Chancellor of the Law University despite the fact that in other parts of the country Chief Justice of the concerned State holds this position.

Through gazette notification, the Ministry of Home Affairs substituted the term “Chief Minister” by “the Chief Justice” in Section 8 of the Act while as the term of “Chief Justice was substituted by “the Chancellor” in Section 12, Sub-Section (1), Clause (d).

However, nearly one and half years after the approval to the Act and nearly one year after the adaptation of law of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir with modifications by the MHA, no headway has been made on the establishment of National Law University in this Union Territory, sources said.

“What to talk of making other arrangements in order to give practical shape to the legislation even land for the establishment of National Law University has not been identified till date”, sources informed, adding “the Government of J&K Union Territory can run the Law University from a rented building like the other institutes which made beginning in J&K without having own infrastructure and gradually shifted to other places”.

They further said, “the Government should start ground work for setting up of National Law University without further loss of time keeping in view the procedural formalities which generally take undue long time in Jammu and Kashmir”, adding “moreover, the J&K Government will have to seek financial assistance from the Union Law Ministry for raising the infrastructure of the varsity”.

The primary objective behind setting up of National Law University is to evolve and impart comprehensive and interdisciplinary legal education that is socially relevant.

“Such an initiative will go a long way in promoting legal and ethical values and foster the rule of law and the objectives enshrined in the Constitution of India”, sources said, adding “furthermore, such a University works toward dissemination of legal knowledge and its role in national development so that the ability to analyse and present contemporary issues of public concern and their legal implications for the benefit of the public is improved”.

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