Bangalore: India needs to look beyond mere establishment of National Law Schools and emphasise on the second generation of legal education reforms, weeding out mediocrity and inefficiency from the legal system, Union Law Minister M Veerapa Moily said on Sunday.
"The need now is to look beyond the mere establishment of National Law schools. The need now is to weed out mediocrity and inefficiency from our legal education system
through dramatic reform in terms of its scope and quality," he said, addressing students at the 18th Annual Convocation of the National Law School of India University here.
Moily said a comprehensive and wide-ranging review of the legal education system, working out what the nation needs, how it could be provided and how best to quip tomorrow`s lawyers to compete with the best in the world was needed.
Some important recommendations of the second generation legal education reforms include establishing four national level institutions at regional level as centres of
excellence, to focus on research and upgrading faculty skills and setting up National Law University in every state, he said.
Creating a National Law Library accessible for all citizens online and a cadre of para-legals in various sectors of legal practice to serve as legal secretaries and
strengthening legal aid and literacy programmes are other recommendations towards ushering second generation legal education reforms.
Moily stressed on a multi-disciplinary approach across the board to enable more students access to affordable and quality legal education. "Expansion means we will have to have
more manpower to fuel an efficient justice system. It is estimated that reducing pendencies alone can add about two percent to our GDP", the minister said.
Inclusion must focus on creating a system by which a first generation lawyer from a poor background and region can compete with the best, something practiced by very few law
schools, leading to under representation from socially and economically backward in the profession, he said.
Another important aspect of reforms would be to promote excellence beyond national law schools. The focus should be on identifying and nurturing talent by giving every
opportunity to each person wishing to be a law student,he
Moily suggested that medicority could be weeded out by providing good and competent teachers in adequate numbers.
The central agenda of the reforms must be to attract young and energetic law teachers, he said.
He said that excellence could also be promoted by harnessing and creating a environment for cutting-edge research contributing to law reform and development,
curriculum reform emphasising on practical application than rote learning and encouraging students to take courses over issues related to socially and economically disadvantaged and underrepresented people.
Moily said India`s universities need to be made more `universal` if they are to flourish. "The latest ranking of world universities shows India has a long way to go in higher
education", he said.
"It`s once proud university system, the best in Asia after the second world war has fallen on very bad times. It is not that Indian university education has languished
altogether. The IITs, IIMs and a host of other universities like Delhi and JNU have bought higher quality of education to India. Nevertheless, relative to the rest of the world, India has fallen behind".
India`s demographic profile of 550 million below the age of 25 offers excellent scope to become one fourth of the global work force and a technician for the world, he said,
adding that the country must learn to leverage it.