CJI NV Ramana: Very few graduates from National Law Universities take up public causes, litigation

by Priya Bharti

Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana lamented on Sunday that ” a very few graduates from National Law Universities (NLUs) join the litigation or take up public causes.

One disappointing outcome of the legal education imparted in the premier law schools of the country, Ramana said.

“There is an urgent need to introduce courses which are more practical and allow students to interact with people and their issues at the grass-root level. That brings me to one of the disappointing outcomes I have found in present-day legal education. I find those very few students who graduate from National Law Schools are interested in joining litigation or taking up public causes, let alone practice at the district level,” he said.

The CJI was speaking at the eighteenth annual convocation of the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR), Hyderabad.

The CJI in his speech also highlighted the importance of starting legal practice at trial courts before moving to High Courts and the Supreme Court.

“To succeed at trial advocacy, one requires a separate skill-set, wherein the requirement of presence of mind and intellectual inputs is immense. Moreover, considering the highest pendency before the trial courts, there is both a demand and the need for specialized lawyers,” he said.

He, therefore, urged young lawyers to consider gaining experience at the trial court level before moving on to practice at higher forums such as High Courts and the Supreme Court.

In this regard, he highlighted how he had started his legal practice by appearing before a tehsildar in a tenancy matter.

“Ever since then, I have appeared before tax authorities, stamp registrar, magistrate court, munsif court, etc. I still remember my first assignment as a judge-appointed commissioner. I was paid a princely sum of 100 rupees for that assignment as Commissioner. I must say, the experiences I gathered from these endeavors shaped my understanding of the system and the people,” he said.

No university can teach you this, he added.

Further, he urged law students to keep raising questions and not accept anything at the face value irrespective of where it comes from.

“Being the guardians of freedom, justice, equality, and ethics, you cannot allow narrow and partisan views to dominate the nation’s thought. Students are known for their readiness to fight for all the right causes because their thoughts are pure and honest. They should be at the forefront to question injustice. We need leaders for tomorrow to rise from these grounds,” he said.

The CJI in his speech also noted with alarm, the increased number of youth falling prey to intoxicants.

He further said, “I would urge the youth of today, to disassociate themselves from substance abuse. Your mental and physical health is in your hands. A vibrant nation is built upon the health and energy of its youth,”.

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