The Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition by a student challenging a rule of the National Law University of the Delhi Government here making it mandatory for students seeking admissions in the five-year B.A-LLB course to stay in hostels.

Justice Manmohan also dismissed the petitioner’s plea for a direction to the university to reconsider the high semester fees.

Petitioner Pulkit Khurana challenged the rule, arguing that the condition of mandatory residential five-year stay at the campus imposed by the university was not only financially onerous but also illegal. His counsel submitted that the Bar Council of India had not made the course a compulsory residential based programme.

The petitioner’s lawyer further submitted that hardly any judges, attorney-generals, law officers, advocates and teachers teaching at the university had passed out from a law college where staying in hostels was compulsory.

Dismissing the petition, Mr. Justice Manmohan said: “… the respondent-University is entitled in law to offer a residential-based B.A.- LLB (Hons.) course.’’

“Having heard… senior counsel for the petitioner as well as having perused the replies given to queries under the Right to Information Act… by the respondent-University as well as by the Bar Council of India, this Court is of the view that there is no legal bar in setting up a residential university, the Court stated.

“In fact, it has been left to the discretion of the respondent-University to decide as to whether it wants to have a residential programme for law course or not,’’ the Court said.

“Admittedly, the respondent-University is an autonomous body established bythe Government of NCT of Delhi and a copy of the impugned hostel rules have been approved by the Executive Council of the respondent-University at its meeting. Consequently, the respondent-University is entitled in law to offer a residential-based B.A.- LLB (Hons.) course,’’ the Court said.

“As far as the plea that there is no distinction between a mandatory residential law college and a non-residential law college is concerned, this Court is of the view that the petitioner has the option to choose between a residential university and a university that offers only a LLB day course,’’ Mr. Justice Manmohan stated.

“But in the opinion of this Court, it is for the university to choose as to whether it wants to offer a residential course or a non-residential LLB course. Petitioner as a law student cannot dictate terms to the university,’’ the Court stated.

“As far as challenge to the fee structure is concerned, no material has been placed on record to show that the fees being charged by the respondent-University is not commensurate to the cost that has been incurred on setting up of the respondent-University. The comparison between an old engineering college and a new university college that has recently been set up is just like comparing apples and oranges,’’ Mr. Justice Manmohan stated.