“The laudable object of the University has been frustrated in the rigmarole of red-tapism…The National Law University could have been a feather in the hat of the State of Uttarakhand…the University could be of international standards.” observed the Uttarakhand High Court.
The present case “Dr. Bhupal Singh Bhakuni v. State of Uttarakhand & others” was adjudicated by a Division Bench of Uttarakhand High Court comprising of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Lok Pal Singh on 19th June 2018.
The grievance of petitioners is that though the National Law University of Uttarakhand Act, 2011 has been promulgated and came into force but despite that the State Government has not established National Law University in Uttarakhand.
Earlier there was a dispute related to the availability of land but despite the availability of 1800 acres of land after some point of time, as against the actual requirement of 10 acres for the establishment of University, no fruitful work had begun. The High Court chided the State Government that it is hard to believe that no land is available in the entire state for the establishment of University. The Court observed that sufficient land is available in District Udham Singh Nagar for the establishment of University.
The Court observed:
“The laudable object, to be achieved by the enactment, has not been achieved by the State functionaries. The necessity for having the National Law University in the State of Uttarakhand is that the new State was created…The students of the State of Uttarakhand are also to be imparted quality legal education. There is dearth/shortage of law universities. The purpose of establishment of the National Law University was to enhance the standard of legal education.”
While the Court observed that sufficient land was available, it took notice of the fact that there was a lack of will on the part of the State Government to establish the University. The University could have been established and thereafter the classes could start in any government building or rented accommodation. Lack of a fully functional library could have been undone with the use of internet and compact disks for downloading Supreme Court, High Court Judgements and international standards law publications.
When the State Government contended that an arrangement of funds has to be made, the High Court observed that there cannot be any compromise in the field of education and it was for the State Government to garner the funds. Moreover the State Government was well aware of this contingency when the 2011 Act was promulgated.
The Uttarakhand High Court issued the following directions:
A) The State Government is to start the National Law University in the State within three months from the date of judgement.
B) The State Government is directed to run the University from the government buildings or by hiring a private accommodation at a reasonable rate.
C) The State of Uttarakhand is directed to raise construction for the University in District Udham Singh Nagar where the government land measuring about 1800 acres is available.
D) The first academic session shall start from September, 2018. Necessary permission shall be obtained by the National Law University from the Bar Council of India.
E) The State Government is directed to frame the regulations within a period of one month from the date of judgement.
F) All the appointments in the University shall be made within a period of three months from the date of judgement including appointment of teaching faculty and ministerial staff.