Shreyas Sinha v. The West Bengal University of Judicial Sciences & Ors.
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3085 OF 2020
The issue at hand was the admission of the Appellant to the five-year law course at WBNUJS on the basis of the WBNUJS Amendment Act, 2018, which came into force on 21.05.2019. It provided for the reservation of seats on the basis of the domicile in the State of West Bengal to the extent of at least 30% of the total intake of the University. The Appellant's contention is that, as the Act had come into force before CLAT was conducted, the benefit of domicile reservation should be extended to the students by the University for the academic session of 2019-2020. On this ground, the Appellant filed a writ before the Calcutta High Court. It was contended by the University that the Act was prospective and could not be made applicable in respect of the admission process which had already commenced from January 2019.
A Bench comprising of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat held that the WBNUJS (Amendment) Act, 2018 applies only prospectively and could not have applied to the admission process for the academic year 2019-20, which was ongoing when the Act came into effect.
The Court noted that the Amending Act came into force at once, i.e. on 21st May, 2019. However, there was no provision in the Amending Act which stated that it would apply to the on-going admission process. Further, even though the University was mandated to provide compulsory reservation of seats to the extent of at least 30%, the year from which the said admission was to be reserved had not been prescribed in the statute. Since the Amending Act does not contemplate that the benefit of reservation has to be granted in the ongoing academic session, therefore, the University was at liberty to decide to extend the benefit from the next academic session