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Nagaland

Law students in Nagaland demand their due pound

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By EMN Updated: Jul 08, 2016 1:15 am
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Dimapur, JULY 7 : Nagaland is the only state in the country with no government law college even after attaining 50 years of statehood. The gap has not gone unnoticed. Law students across Dimapur, Kohima and Mokokchung took out protests on Thursday demanding establishment of government-run law educational institutions.

The students of law conducted sit-in protests in their respective college, against the Nagaland government’s ‘lackadaisical attitude towards the establishment of government law colleges.’

The protests were called by the Nagaland Law Students’ Federation (NLSF) in frustration that the government had yet to realize the need for government law colleges for the state–there are only three privately-run law colleges, one each in Dimapur, Kohima, and Mokokchung.
Kohima: Government’s attitude to law reflected by lawlessness in Nagaland

Joining their counterparts, students of Kohima Law College, sat in protest near the Raj Bhavan Road in Kohima town. A brief program was held in the day and followed by a submission of a representation to the chief minister and the governor of Nagaland.

The president of the Kohima Law College Students Union, Vitoka K Aye, said that the students of the law were being ‘deprived of opportunities for decades by the Nagaland government in failing to establish a government law college in the state.’

‘Even after 50 years of statehood there is not a single government law college in the state,’ Aye said and that ‘it had proved to be the most profound show of negligence by the state government.’

In spite of repeated appeals since the past decades, Aye said, no positive step has been taken by the Nagaland government, he said. ‘The inaction of the government has hampered the career of the law students in the state due to lack of proper infrastructure.’

The students’ leader also said that an immediate need was a ‘practical intervention’ from the government to take over the law college. It would fulfill various requirements to fulfill the UGC guidelines as well as of the Bar Council’s.

The demand for a government law college in the state for better infrastructure and also for availing higher legal profession, he said is not only for the present students but for the upcoming generation, ‘where in the long run, rights and justice can be uphold and will be a universal for all the people in general’ added Aye.

Also addressing students, NLSF’s president Lanusowa said that the government had ignored the importance and need for law in the state ‘and indulges in immeasurable corruption everywhere.’ Therefore, he said, students of the law have been left with no option but to resort to agitations.

Lanusowa also asserted that the community will fight until the demands are met. ‘This is just the beginning, and that harsher strikes will be coming up if the government turn a deaf ear to its genuine demand.’

A matter that he explained why studying law in the state was hard was the lack of infrastructure, libraries, resources, and faculty. They make it even more difficult for students to pursue their studies. He has called upon the government to take note and come up with a policy for law studies, ‘so that it can produce eminent lawyers and advocates to strife and make a just society.’

‘Give us the space to study law equally for the poor and rich alike,’ he said.

The principal of Kohima Law College, Visevonuo Pienyü, who has been teaching for the past 19 years, said that the need for a government law college had been a ‘very long demand.’ She has appealed to the students that the sit-in protest ‘should not a protest, where unwanted situation comes since we are the law keepers, therefore whatever we do should be within the law which we have learned and are learning now.’

While acknowledging their genuine demands, Pienyü said that the protest should be according to the ‘terms and conditions of the law, and in a proper and peaceful manner.’

Pienyu also asked the government not to neglect law academics. The society today needs people who are aware of the law, she said. She expressed hope that the government would look into the matter and address the grievances of the students at the earliest.

Interacting with media persons, officials of the federation said that studying law in Nagaland was not only ‘too expensive’ for aspiring students; privately run law colleges, despite their best efforts cannot provide adequate infrastructure as required of a professional institution due to financial constraints.

Considering the need for government law colleges in the state, the NLSF leaders informed that earlier on August 8, 2015, they had submitted a memorandum to the government to take immediate steps to set up one. However, the demand remains unaddressed till date.

The memorandum submitted today reads ‘the need to have government-run law colleges with complete infrastructure. This need has been felt for long and even private law colleges are willing to hand over their respective colleges to the government.’

Requesting the government to take remedial steps to fulfilling the demand, the memorandum warned of continued protests until the government takes concrete steps.

In today’s protests, none of the Naga Students’ Federation leaders turned up, although a ‘message of solidarity’ was to be delivered during the program. It is a coincidence that when the law students were demanding their due, the apex students’ leadership failed to lend a hand.

Dimapur: ‘Not lack of funds. Lack of will’

Students of City Law College in Dimapur joined the protests on Thursday as well. An echo of resentment was in the statement here too that more than 50 years of statehood, Nagaland was the only state in the country without a government law college, said the college’s principal, P Leonard Aier who supported the protest initiated by the NLSF.

Referring to the three private law colleges in the state, Aier empathized with the students. The three colleges cannot fully satisfy the aspirations of the students due to lack of infrastructure and resources, he said. In spite of the Bar Council of India setting guidelines for minimum infrastructure that law colleges should have, Aier said, those in Nagaland can hardly provide 80% of the minimum requirement.

Aier also lamented that the Nagaland government has not been able to separate the judiciary from the executive as yet–this has resulted in the judiciary ‘playing second fiddle to the executive’ in Nagaland.

The Nagaland government has also failed not because of lack of funds but due to lack of will when the state has the capability to produce ‘best lawyers’ who can represent even in other courts including the Supreme Court, Aier said.

The principal expressed hope that the state’s government would listen and recognize the need of law students.

Also, the general secretary of the NLSF Khemü Mekru said during the event that the government was depriving the students of pursuing their studies. He questioned the government for its ‘reluctant attitude’ in setting up professional law institutions. He has called upon the state to stop making ‘lame excuses’ of ‘fund constraints’ when the central government of India has ‘budgeted’ it annually.

Dimapur Naga Students’ Union (DNSU) President Sungkem, who also expressed solidarity to the Law students, said the DNSU will support any cause which is for the good of society, especially the cause of the students and take this issue as DNSU’s priority.

At the same time he said that sometimes the government alone cannot be blamed as public demand is also lacking. The DNSU president assured the protesting students that the matter will b taken up with Naga Students Federation, Naga Council Dimapur and others to fulfill the demand of the law students.

Mokokchung:

Members of the Mokokchung Law Students’ Union on Thursday joined their Dimapur and Kohima counterparts in demand for full-fledged government law colleges in the state.

Besides law students, a number of advocates and leaders of the Ao Students’ Conference (AKM) also showed their solidarity during the protests hosted by the Mokokchung Law Students’ Union at the town hall.

The AKM’s assistant general secretary Shilukaba Longchar, said in his message that the establishments of three law colleges in Dimapur, Kohima and Mokokchung have produced ‘outstanding lawyers’ and advocates’ that have ‘protected the powerless and defended the justice system.’ Due importance to the subject of law studies must be given at par with other professional studies, he said.

Longchar also recalled that during the ‘80s, the AKM felt the need for a law college. This led to a campaign for the establishment of what is now the present Mokokchung Law College. He added that the uniqueness of the college was that its very foundation stood on understanding and contributions by every household in Mokokchung.

The AKM leader raise a query: “if the public and the AKM felt the need and saw the importance of law college in the district during the late ‘80s, why does the state government fail till today in establishing full -fledged government law colleges in Nagaland”? Longchar has urged upon the Nagaland government to fulfill the aspirations of the students community.

Also, the deputy speaker of the NLSF, Nungshimren, said during the program that the federation had time and again requested the government to take note of said grievances and to give equal importance to the subject of law at par with other professional studies. Likewise, he said the state was asked to formulate a policy to set up law colleges.

However, Nungshimren lamented, in spite of repeated appeals over the past decades, the demands remains unaddressed. “The absence makes the prestige and reputation of our state unpopular and also nuisance to the young law aspirants in the state,” he explained. If the government fails to give a positive response, students of the law would launch more agitations, he assured.

Also, the president of the MLSU, C Talimoa, said in a note that was given to the media that “ Nagaland wasted 52 years of statehood without a single government law college and the time for waiting has gone.”

Law students are not taken care seriously, he said. There is not even a separate department of law with Nagaland University, he said. “Students of the law colleges in the state are neglected by the state government. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of our rights. We equally deserve government law colleges in our state,” Talimoa stated.

The note added: “Mokokchung Law College Students Union therefore, demands the state government to set up government Law colleges in the state and to act in accordance to the Article 30 of the Indian Constitution.”

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By EMN Updated: Jul 08, 2016 1:15:55 am