New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said a "dramatic reform" was necessary in legal education system to make law fraternity sensitive to the needs of the marginalised sections.
"If we are to have a society where the common man gets speedy and affordable access to justice, if we are to have the rule of law in our country, if we are to have an economic environment where contracts are easily enforcible, we must ensure that our law teachers, practising advocates, corporate lawyers, legal advisors, judicial officers and legal
facilitators are of a very high standard," he said.
"This is possible only if there is dramatic reform and improvement in the scope and quality of legal education system," he said inaugurating a National Consultation for Second Generation Reforms in Legal Education.
He said there was a need to have a legal education system "sensitive to the needs of the marginalised sections". Not only should these sections be adequately represented among law students, legal education imparted should inculcate sensitivity towards the special needs of the under privileged like women, SCs and STs.
Recalling the words of late President S Radhakrishnan that the country`s law colleges did not hold a place of high esteem either at home or abroad, Singh said, "As we introspect honestly, we must sadly accept that Dr Radhakrisnan`s powerful yet poignant words may not be amenable to any radical restatement even today."
Pointing out the shortcomings of legal education, he said, "The sad reality is that when we look for experts to head new law schools and new faculties, we have precious few to choose from."
He said there was a need to provide more uniform, but calibrated and better salaries, accompanied by considerably improved terms of service.
Noting that law libraries were too few and woefully stocked, he said latest tools of research should be provided to students, scholars and practitioners. "Law schools should be linked with the best sources of knowledge globally," he said.
Singh said internship and post-degree placements should be regulated to match applicants and recipients appropriately.
"Today, some fortunate students who have the right
contacts have the luxury of plenty in terms of options while
several of their talented but less resourceful colleagues go
abegging for placements," he added.