IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


27th January, 2023 POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

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  • The National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore recently came under controversy for its controversial “domicile reservation policy.”
  • In 2021, NLSIU voluntarily adopted the “Inclusion and Expansion Plan 2021-2025.” It aims to;
    • Increase the total student intake for both undergraduate and postgraduate law programmes every year.
    • Reserve 25% of seats horizontally for Karnataka students.
  • NLSIU claims that ‘Karnataka Students’ are admitted to 25% of seats in every vertical category, including General/ SC/ ST/ OBC/ EWS and as a result, constitute at least 25% of the overall student body.


  • In 2020, the state government of Karnataka government notified the National Law School of India Amendment Act.
    • This mandates that NLSIU to horizontally reserve 25% of seats for Karnataka domicile students. The step was taken to encourage more graduates from NLSIU to join the Bar in Karnataka.
  • In 2020, the Karnataka High Court struck down this amendment act highlighting that the state legislature has no power or authority under the Act to direct the Law School to provide reservations for students. The court held that the law school is an autonomous entity and any form of reservation for students to be admitted to it shall be provided by the Executive Council of the Law School.
    • However, despite the Act being struck down, NLSIU voluntarily adopted the ‘Inclusion and Expansion Plan 2021-25.’ to introduce new reservation categories including the 25% domicile reservation for Karnataka students.

Vertical and Horizontal reservations:

  • Reservations for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes are referred to as the Vertical reservation.
    • It applies separately for each of the groups specified under the law.
  • Horizontal reservation refers to the equal opportunity provided to other categories of beneficiaries such as women, veterans, the transgender community, and individuals with disabilities, cutting through the vertical categories.
  • The horizontal quota is applied separately to each vertical category, and not across the board.
    • For example, if women have a 50% horizontal quota, then half of the selected candidates will have to necessarily be women in each vertical quota category — i.e., half of all selected SC candidates will have to be women, half of the unreserved or general category will have to be women, and so on.