Legal Education in India: From ‘what is’ to ‘what could be’

Right from the beginning, when a student frames his mind to take up the legal profession, then and there, he is made aware of the tedious route. From entrance test battle to decoding the ambiguity over placements, this route of legal profession never stops to offer surprises. Five-year academic or three-year academic, as the case may be, is considered to be the most crucial phase of this legal journey.

Indeed! Many novice law students consider B.A.LLB (5year) or LLB (3year) programme as a surety to mould them into legal luminaries. Well, their illusions disappear as soon as they encounter the over-academic syllabi of Bar Council of India. It comprises of twenty-eight subjects in total including eighteen compulsory, four clinical and six optional subjects.

No doubt, students celebrate its completion after receiving their degrees in the grand event of convocation. Though, end results of this academic journey do not seem to be satisfactory.  The time they enter the real world of the legal profession, things become clearer to them. In order to learn the fundamentals of their respective trade, they are commanded to unlearn some of their irrelevant academic learning. Someone has rightly said that we learn to unlearn and the system of legal education in India has beautifully applied the said adage.

To cover these loopholes, students are inclining themselves towards internships more than ever. Some get landed to right destination and get a little taste of trade while others who don’t hit their target in first go also learn some precious trade rules directly or indirectly. The idea is simple. During thirty hour mandatory lectures per week as prescribed by BCI, students are indeed motivated to learn more and more. In these enclosed classrooms, they just learn but it is only outside the classroom where they can apply their learning before it gets swept away.

Hence, classroom learning and outside training shall go hand in hand for an effective legal education system. Research papers, seminars, moot courts are also the effective tools of learning and boost the confidence of students. In the present context, ‘law’ has become a popular area of study. More and more students are being attracted towards it due to several reasons. It goes without any doubt that law is a unique area with tremendous potential and has so much to offer to the society.

With each passing year, we witness the establishment of new law colleges and encounter an army of law graduates with a degree in hands and high hope of future. Does it suffice?  The answer is an absolute NO. In order to guarantee a flourishing career, one’s legal background still matters in India, placements advantages are primarily offered to those from top notch law institutes. After facing the battle of law entrance and going through the academic training, only twenty to thirty percent of law graduates are found to be fit for the trade. This clearly proves that in the era of globalisation and specialisation, our very own system of legal education is failing us. In order to serve the real purpose, with up gradation of infrastructure, all we require is up gradation of legal education.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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DEEPIKA SANGWAN

Deepika Sangwan is a second-year student at Army Institute of Law, Mohali. She is an Editor at college magazine ‘AILITE 2016-2017’. She believes that writing gives clarity & depth to one’s thoughts. Apart from decorating facts with reasoning, cycling is her favourite pass time.

 

5 Interesting Law Case Studies: A takeaway of knowledge for students

For Indians, it is a common phenomenon to undermine the judicial system and mock the professionals by saying they don’t do any work. But is it really true?

In the year 2014, the Delhi high court granted a divorce to an 85-year old man after a waiting period of 32 years. This, in turn, shattered all hopes of resuming his married life.  There are almost 27 million cases that are pending in the Indian courts while they remain short of around 5000 judges.

The story that I mentioned in the beginning is something that the High Court and Supreme Court judges are facing every day. It’s almost like a bubble breaker for a common man. As a child, there have been innumerable instances where I overheard ‘men in my family’ talk about the legal scenarios and judiciary system of India. Most of the times, it started and ended with the same thing ‘the judges in our country don’t do any work’. It’s easy to say so, but how would we know the reality behind the harsh truth?

Judges, lawyers and the entire judiciary system is working extremely hard to ensure they clear the backlog. They are unable to do so, not because they don’t want to, but because there is a shortage of resources.

In fact, there are a number of law case studies which are extremely long and have a lot of knowledge about law. For example, the Nirbhaya judgement sheet is around 429 pages long which explains the reason it takes a particular case so long.

Here are 5 Interesting Law Case Studies which is a great knowledge takeaway for the students of today:

  1. Tarakeswar Case (1874)

The popularity of the case is understandable from the fact that authorities had to sell tickets at the entry. The case revolves around Nobin Chandra and his wife Elokeshi. Nobin slit his wife’s throat for allegedly having an affair with the chief priest of Tarakeshwar Temple. Nobin confessed his crime to the police, but the locals were mostly on his side. Due to this, Nobin was released after two years while serving life imprisonment. However, the priest was put behind the bars for three years. In fact, there were rumours doing rounds that the priest had raped Elokeshi by promising to help her with “fertility issues”. This case was even more important due to the ‘British Raj’ prevalent during that time.

  1. Bhawal Case (1921-1946)

One of the most peculiar identity cases of that time, it revolves around a possible pretender who affirmed to be the prince of Bhawal Estate, largest zamindari estate of Bengal.

Ramendra, a kumar of Bhawal estate died in early 1900, but there was tittle-tattle among people that he was not really dead. In 1921, a religious man who looked like Ramendra was spotted in Dhaka. The former tenants and farmers of Ramendra supported his claim to the title. The entire village trusted him except Ramendra’s widow, Bibhabati. After a long legal procedure of 25 years, the court ruled in his favor after which he passed away due to a stroke.

The interesting thing is that during the case, the look-alike (or whatever) also moved to Calcutta and even collected 1/3rd of the estate revenue.

  1. Kiranjit Ahluwalia’s Case

Kiranjit Ahluwalia’s case came a year after marital rape was declared as ‘rape’ in 1991. She was convicted of murder by burning her husband alive during his sleep. The lady in question had been a victim of domestic violence for over a decade and had been in severe depression when she took the step. The case set a benchmark for improving public awareness on domestic abuse. As a final verdict, she was convicted to life imprisonment. However, she was later freed as her conviction of murder was reduced to manslaughter.

  1. Roe V Wade

If you want to understand the implications of judicial decisions on the political and the social environment, no case is as good as this one. The decision in 1973 supported a woman’s right to abortion and is celebrated by women each year today. The popularity of this decision is such that thousands of people march in the support every year.

  1. Mathura Rape Case (1972)

One of the most prominent cases in the history of India, mainly due to the protests following the final verdict which saw a major overhaul in the rape laws of the country. In the city of Mathura, a tribal woman was raped by two constables within the premises of a police station. During the trial, the judge found the accused not guilty. Can you guess the reason given behind this unfair judgement? As per the judge, a sexual act within the premises of a police station was permitted and consensual. However, this law had to be amended due to the massive protests all over the country, with everyone saying- Submission does not mean consent.

These were some of the cases which are extremely interesting if you go through the entire judgement. Some cases would have surely made you go “Like what! Are you serious this ever happened?” This proves one thing- The lives of lawyers and judges aren’t as easy as it seems and you must be prepared before taking up the L.L.B. course. They may seem right to some and wrong to others. However, as history has it, wherever they have been wrong, they have acknowledged their mistakes, and the judgement has been changed as well. So, let them do their work while we do ours.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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SANYA SAJJANHAR

Ms Sanya Sajjanhar is the academic writer at Sharda University. She has keen interest in writing articles pertaining to Law Courses.

 

6 books every law student should read!

Forget the European and American reading lists for law students. Here we have our own customised reading list for law students in India.

Thank us later!

  1. Learning the law
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    The ‘all-time favourite’ gets repeated, again. Although the book is not about Indian legal system particularly, still it may be considered a good starting point for the new entrants. First-year students, are you listening! And the book just got better (and cheaper) with the Indian economy reprint. Get it here
  2. Nani Palkhivala: The Courtroom Genius

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    ‘The God of Advocates!’, literally! No Indian law student can afford to miss an account of the court cases of Nanabhoy “Nani” Ardeshir Palkhivala, the legendary advocate! Get the book here . 

  3. Roses in December

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    ‘M. C. Chagla’, the name speaks for itself! If you need some serious inspiration, go for this book. An inspiring life; an interesting tale. One of the few good autobiographies by an Indian jurist. Get the book here . 

  4. Famous Murder Trials
    murderIf you’re looking for some detailed insights on how the murder trials go on out there, you cannot afford to miss this book. Covering more than 75 murder cases in India, it stands as a magnum opus in the field. Get the book here . 
  5. Before Memory Fades: An Autobiography
    41pkmvzuxl-_sx321_bo1204203200_Another legend, Fali S. Nariman. Again, the name speaks for itself. Starting from his resignation from the post of Additional Solicitor General of India in protest against Indira Gandhi’s declaration of Emergency to the controversy he attracted with his decision to defend the Union Carbide company in the Bhopal Gas Tragedy case, you’ll find a lot of interesting legal tales here! Get the book here . 
  6. The Law and The Lawyers
    law-and-the-lawyersMohandas Karamchand Gandhi. He’s always had a place in our heart; time to give him a place in our minds too?
    “At a time when the legal and professional standards among both judges and lawyers have fallen woefully, it behoves the legal fraternity to bestir itself and infuse a moral tone into the profession by pledging itself with renewed vigour and deep devotion to the ideals and the precepts of Gandhiji.” Get the book here