New Delhi: For a few days every year, these law students fan out in the interiors of Gujarat to immerse themselves in the functioning of district courts and help clear the backlog of cases in their own small yet meaningful way.
In a unique experiment, the Gujarat National Law University, as part of an understanding with the state`s lower judiciary, is partnering district courts that are reeling under a shortage of law officers to enable its students provide constructive help.
GNLU Vice-Chancellor Bimal N Patel says the experiment was a result of a 2009 survey conducted by the University on backlog of cases in lower judiciary, and how small initiatives like clubbing of similar cases together and preparing of chronological statements on cases can help save valuable time in courts.
"... 125 of our students went about the state conducting the study in all districts of Gujarat, they met judges and found out why the courts were tied down due to massive backlogs," Patel, who helms the Gandhinagar-based institution told PTI in an interview.
"The volume of cases in courts is huge, and shortage of people is also an issue. So, we identified non-sensitive areas where our students can be involved in a constructive way," he said.
The law department then zeroed in on areas like classification of cases, clubbing of similar cases together, post case disposal activities, including implementation of judgements.
The students -- 620 of them each year -- are charted out into a work plan whereby they are sent to all districts of the state to spend at least 10 days with eight hours every day in district courts.
"In this way, our students contribute at least 48,000 hours every year to assist the lower courts. This is a small contribution but a significant one I feel and can be a starting point for greater such partnerships," he said.
While law students are often required to do internships in courts and under lawyers in every law school, this is perhaps a rare initiative where an institutional plan is drawn and made compulsory for students.