Unacceptable that NLUs are run by contractual teaching staff: Supreme Court

Read Time: 05 minutes

The Supreme Court has deprecated the practice in which the National Law University, Nodhpur, a pioneer in legal education in the country, is being managed by contractual teaching staff only, terming the situation as "unacceptable and undesirable".

Noting that the National Law University, Jodhpur is not having a Vice Chancellor and the Registrar was contractual too, a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia said the situation should be remedied by the institute itself instead of court being called upon to do so.

The court was hearing an appeal filed by the National Law University, Jodhpur challenging the judgement of the Rajasthan High Court which struck down regulations for contractual employment of teachers.

"We find it a matter of great concern that a National Law University, which are institutions in forefront of legal education should operate only with contractual teachers. To say the least, this is unacceptable and undesirable," the bench said. 

The bench was, however, told that now there have been some amendment to the regulations which provide for 50 per cent permanent staff and 50 per cent contractual.

"That has also not been implemented as yet! As per the University Grants Commission Regulations, it should be only 10 per cent contractual staff," the bench pointed out.

Senior counsel Dhruv Mehta for the institution contended that they are not aided institutions.

"The point, however, remains that these are supposed to be institutions of excellence and you cannot expect excellence in institutions where there is constant inflow and outflow of teaching staff because they are contractual in character. It is time to remedy the position," the bench said.

"We would like an educational institution to remedy the position itself rather than we being called upon to remedy the position," the bench added.

Meht sought a short accommodation to appropriately advise the clients.

"We are, however, informed that there is not even Vice Chancellor at present and the process is at an advanced stage. The Registrar is also stated to be contractual," the bench noted.

The court scheduled the matter for directions on October 31, 2023. Advocate Rishabh Sancheti and Manoj Ranjan Sinha among others appeared for contractual teaching staff.

Case Title: NLU Jodhpur Vs Prashant Mehra