Ranchi law students win battle for varsity
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Three years after it was set up, the National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi, could finally have its own building, thanks largely to the efforts of a group of students.
The students waited for nearly three years for the state government to get the land allotted to the university vacated, but in vain. So, they approached the Jharkhand High Court — a second-year student, Abhinav Prakash, even argued the case — and convinced it to order the government to clear the land within two weeks.
Since it was established in 2010, the university is housed in a part of the Birla Institute of Technology Polytechnic, Mesra. In April, 2011, the government allotted 73 acres in Nagri for the campus but villagers stalled construction. They said the land was theirs even though the state claimed to have acquired it for an agriculture university over 50 years ago. It soon became a political issue and the government dragged its feet over getting the land cleared of alleged encroachments.
Earlier this year, the Jharkhand Bar Association petitioned the High Court to order the government to facilitate construction of buildings to house the university. But it was the investigation by the students — all involved with the university's Centre for Legal Aid Programme — that showed to the court that the land, which the villagers claimed to be farming, was almost barren.
"The students did an amazing job, unearthing facts that exposed a lot. First, they researched the literacy statistics of those claiming to be totally dependent on land for farming as they were illiterate, proving that their claim was not true. Then they pointed to the court that there was no way the villagers, whose lands had been acquired over half a century ago under the Land Acquisition Act, could claim ownership of the same," said the university's Vice Chancellor Prof A K Koul.
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