Supreme Court judge, Justice UU Lalit on Wednesday recused from hearing a plea by State of Karnataka challenging the Karnataka High Court’s decision to quash the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) Amendment Act, 2020, by which 25 percent domicile reservation was introduced at NLSIU, Bangalore.
Justice Lalit said that he had, as a lawyer, represented one of the members of the Governing Council of NLSIU.
“I have represented one of the members of the Governing Council. List this matter before any other Bench,” he said.
The Karnataka High Court had in September 2020 quashed the domicile reservation on the ground that it is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.
“The impugned reservation (under NLSIU Amendment Act) is struck down as the intelligible differentia has no nexus to the object sought to be achieved and therefore, does not meet the twin tests under Article 14 of the Constitution,” the High Court had held.
It had also ruled that the NLSIU Amendment Act was ultra vires and contrary to the provisions of the parent Act.
The High Court had further concluded that the State government does not have the power to enact the Amendment Act that brought in the 25 percent domicile reservation for admissions to NLSIU.
The Karnataka government moved the Supreme Court in December 2020 challenging the High Court judgment on the ground that Karnataka State Legislature has the necessary legislative competence to pass the Amendment Act.
“High Court erred in holding that the Amendment Act violates Article 14 of the Constitution, as the reservation sought to be introduced for students of Karnataka does not have a nexus to the object sought to be achieved by the Act. State had explained the basis for the reservation and how the amendment has a direct nexus to the ultimate object sought to be achieved by the Act, which is to promote legal education and thereby enrich the legal profession and academia both in the State of Karnataka and in the country at large,” the government has contended before the Supreme Court.