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Home » User Generated Posts » Seat Matrix of GNLU, Gandhinagar Breaches 50% Limit

Seat Matrix of GNLU, Gandhinagar Breaches 50% Limit

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I gave CLAT 2021 and while I was going through the seat matrix of different NLUs, the allotment of seats in Gujarat National Law University startled me. There has been a violation of the fifty per cent cap of reservation (laid down in the Indra Sawhney case, and confirmed in the recent Maratha judgment) by the prestigious Gujarat National Law University situated in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, governed by the Consortium of NLU’s. 


On 26th October 2020, the official seat matrix for the undergraduate law programme of five years was published by GNLU. The seat matrix showed a total of 115 seats allocated for the General category. A total of 65 seats were reserved under vertical reservation. On All India seats, a horizontal reservation of 30% was made in favour of Female candidates, 5% of seats for Specially Abled Persons/Persons with Disability (PWD) category and 25% of seats was made in favour of candidates of Gujarat Domicile, cutting across all the above categories. In this seat matrix, no mention of any kind of reservation for the OBC and the EWS category was specified.

Subsequently, on 1st August 2021, the first allotment list for admission under the undergraduate programme was released. Contrary to the earlier mentioned reservation scheme, 67 seats were allotted to OBC and EWS category students. A total of 66 (36.6% of the total seats) seats were allotted to the general category students, instead of the 115 mentioned number in the official seat matrix of the university. You can find the new breakup here.


Recently, the Maratha reservation was quashed by the Supreme Court, stating that in case the 50% ceiling is breached, “the society won’t be based on principles of equality but on caste rule. This ceiling has been decided by placing reliance on the principle of reasonability and achieves equality as enshrined by Article 14 of which Articles 15 and 16 are facets”. In the landmark case of  M. R. Balaji v. The State of Mysore (1963), the government’s 68% reservation on college admissions was deemed excessive and unreasonable and was capped at 50%. The seat allocation by GNLU is violative of the 50% cap on the reservation. 

In the State of Kerala vs NM Thomas case in 1975, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court considered all of the matters pertaining to the 50 percent ceiling and noted that the percentage of reservation would be contingent on the factual information and circumstances of the particular case, and that no definitive rule could be established. The court held that, “the quota matter cannot be reduced to a mathematical formula to adhere in all cases uniformly”. The Supreme Court illustrated that “if a state government provides 80% reservation based on the population of backward classes in that state being 80%, the policy cannot be faulted with”. 


In the Maratha judgment, the Court also held that the 50% circumstances can be breached under extraordinary circumstances

Report of the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes states that “The task of ascertaining the social and educational backwardness of any class of people is a highly complexed one, as besides the caste, a number of factors such as income level, nature of occupation, mode of life, habitation, proportion of literacy of educated persons etc., have to be taken into account. With a view to making a discrimination in favour of any class of citizens other than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the popular belief of general knowledge of the backwardness would not be an adequate criteria”.

It was laid out in the Indra Sawhney judgement that, “while 50% shall be the rule, it is necessary not to put out of consideration certain extraordinary situations inherent in the great diversity of this country and the people. It might happen that in far-flung and remote areas the population inhabiting those areas might, on account of their being out of the mainstream of national life and in view of conditions peculiar to and characteristical to them, need to be treated in a different way, some relaxation in this strict rule may become imperative. In doing so, extreme caution is to be exercised and a special case made out.” 

Simply reserving seats for more than 50% of the batch strength, without determining actual social standing of and providing reservation to students belonging to the genuine backward regions of the states is illegitimate, and does not come under ‘extraordinary circumstances’.

I wrote an email to the vice-chancellor of GNLU but did not receive any reply. I reached out to some law aspirants who had dreamt of studying in GNLU and had secured a decent rank in CLAT 2021, but because of this seat distribution matrix, they won’t be able to join GNLU.


GNLU is a prestigious university and hundreds of students aspire to take admission in this institution every year. It is imperative to quash the present seat matrix followed for the allocation of seats in UG programme 2021  (1st counselling list) and allot the seats according to the division given on the official website of GNLU. The general category students should be given 115 seats (as mentioned on the website previously) and the seats allocated to OBCs and EWSs should be reduced because there was no mention of these two categories in the official seat matrix of the University. Further, I hope that the concerned authorities take appropriate action against the unconstitutional seat matrix of Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar. It is necessary to impose a 50% cap on reserved seats in the University, or have proper reasons for doing otherwise. 

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  1. More anti reservation drivel by a UC kid who doesn’t even realise that the judgements cited have been overruled.

  2. Someone from a law family background should file a PIL asap to ensure 50% reservation ( free of all horizontal reservation) for a Purely Merit based Candidates in all NLUs and get the Clat 2021 seat allocation revised .

  3. You are not the only one cursed…. Beautifully embellished with facts.Literally they have snatched the seats of merit, but not merit per se. I prognose downfall of such colledges and they will stinking of their own mud in years to come.

  4. Yes i also raised this issue and send an email to VC of GNLU and to clat consortium but to no avail .clat consortium revert back that i have to contact authorities in GNLU and from GNLU i got no reply .everything fell on deaf ear . No body is listening .

  5. Well said….Lots of disappointment by the aspirant..Gnlu behaved like a state university not a national university….too much reservation make the University repo down .. unfair to meritorious students

  6. 66 UR + 18EWS ( being considered as general) totals to 84 which is 50% of 198 ( excluding supernumery) which officially seems to be right. However with 25% domicile and 5% PWd not being compartmalized and restricted to total 30% of each category( as in case of NLSIU), it landed up eating into 44 seats of 66 UR leaving only 18 Purely merit based seat allocation out of total 209 seats of GNLU which seems thoroughly unfair for a candidate genuilely working hard to get into a NLU purely on merit list. Gnlu s official page does say, horizontal domicile will cut across all vertical categories which is being interpreted as cutting across the board ( horizontal applied on merit instead of equally being allocated to each vertical category)

    So officially GNLU s allocation seems to have been done right unless interpretation of cutting across all vertical categories can be challenged or overall the application of a horizontal reservation is challenged.

    Ideally a domicile allocation should be equally done to SC/ ST/ OBC category as they are the people like the tribal category who might be skeptical to travel to other states but instead in case of GNLU , only 1 OBC, 2 SC and 1 ST landed up being given advantage of domicile and rest all eaten into general category.
    We also wrote several emails to the Consortium/ Gnlu including the VC but with no effect.

    The GNLU s seat matrix as well the overall domicile reservation system has eaten into over 100 seats as can be seen by GNLU 2021 cutoff as AIR 376 while GNLU2020 cutoff was at about AIR 470.
    NLIU, Bhopal has 50% domicile reservation which again sounds ridiculous and eats into pure merit based seats.
    How can the governance allow such a state of seat allocation for a Nationl Law University. Domicile reservation in a state university is acceptable but not fair for a national law university.

    The whole Clat student community should come out with an objection immediately to this reservation system . Domicile should be quashed and the event it is not , in the least demand a cap for all horizontal reservation when applied to each vertical category.

    Or it’s time PURE MERIT based seats has its own vertical reservation!!!

    If all law aspiring students object immediately , justice can be brought to this thoroughly unfair system of seat allocation.

    Clat 2021 seat allocation and specially that of GNLU and NLIU indeed needs to be quashed and justice e brought to the hard work of a genuine Law Aspirant.

    Parent of a law aspirant

  7. Well written! I completely agree with the suggested measures. I gave CLAT 2021 too and wasn’t able to get a seat at GNLU because of the seat matrix. I would have gotten a seat in the first list with this rank last year!

  8. Reservation in clat is complete joke worst thing is no one gives a damn about what’s happening in premier law colleges of india. nlu’s only have national in name half of the seats are booked for state domicile/filled with less meritorious students with state reservation acting as sheild. At this rate no nlu will be able to compete with the premier law/management institutes of this country [IIT IIMs]

  9. The article is to the point. The only point you missed is GNLU has additional 30% horizontal domicile reservation cutting across all the categories. If you include that, only 19-20 All India general candidates have been allotted GNLU

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