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Law students win ‘scholarship’ case
Published on 11 Oct. 2008 1:03 AM IST
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Based on a writ petition filed by Nagaland Law Students’ Federation (NLSF), the Gauhati High Court, Kohima Bench, has set aside a Nagaland Government notification dated December 18, 2006, which reduced the prescribed scholarship rate for LLB students. The court in its hearing held on September 29, 2008, ruled that the LLB students should be entitled to scholarship they had been receiving upto 2005-06, at the rate of Rs. 510 for hostellers and Rs. 330 for day scholars. This rate of scholarship is the prescribed rate for post graduate and professional courses (Group I & II) under the scheme called Post Matric Scholarship to students belonging to Scheduled Tribes for studies in India, promulgated by the Government of India, Ministry of Tribal Affairs. Earlier, NLSF in its petition said from 2006-07 onwards, the Higher & Technical Education Department, Nagaland, had sought to reduce the prescribed scholarship rate for LLB students by issuing a notification dated December 18, 2006. The respondents including the Central and Nagaland governments filed affidavit in opposition. The Central government in its affidavit simply contended that it was upto the State government to decide the matter as per the scheme. On the other hand, the State respondents in their affidavit stated that the LLB course did not come within the category of post graduate course, and therefore, the law students were entitled only entitled to scholarship under Group III of the scheme, ie. Rs. 355 for hostellers and Rs. 185 for day scholars. However, the court in its ruling stated that the “purported clarification” of the State respondents did not find any mention in the Central government’s affidavit, and added that by issuing such clarification, the mandate of the scheme could be done away with. The court also pointed out that while prescribing the course wise pattern of assistance, the LLB and LLM courses had been included under Group II post graduate course. “Thus, under the scheme itself the professional course of Law stands included in the Post Graduate course. Further, the course included under Group II are only inclusive and it does not exclude the LLB course from the purview of being within the category of post graduate professional course,” the court observed. The court said it saw no reason why the law students should be deprived of the prescribed rate of scholarship, which they had been receiving prior to issuance of the government notification.

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