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The pathetic plight of India's law students
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August 27, 2006 20:41 IST

Students of the highly rated National Law School of India University here have to go around 'literally with begging bowls' to raise finances to take part in competitions overseas, as it cannot fund these trips costing lakhs of rupees, its Vice-Chancellor Dr. A Jayagovind rued on Sunday.

Established as an institution of excellence, NLSIU is a Bangalore-based statutory university, whose Chancellor is the Chief Justice of India, and is considered one of the top legal education centres in the country.

At the 14th annual convocation, attended by the Chief Justice of India, Justice Y K Sabharwal and Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Jayagovind highlighted the 'serious financial constraints' that its students have to face while going abroad for international moot court competitions.

"We cannot afford to finance these trips costing lakhs of rupees," he said. "The result is that students selected for these competitions have to go around literally with begging bowls to raise finances rather than researching on the problems."

"This looks pathetic when compared to the situation in Singapore and other universities, where students are given every encouragement to participate in such programmes."

Jayagovind said it is to the credit of its students that braving these hardships they have done well and made the Law School and the country proud with their impressive performance.

"But we must not allow this deplorable situation to continue, since many meritorious students who cannot raise the resources are likely to opt out of the race."

He suggested that while law schools undertake the task of national selections, the national teams selected be financed by the Centre in respect of some selected international moots such as Jessup and Vienna arbitration moot.

"One way is to continue as we are; and with some support from the government and the public, to register incremental progress year after year as we have done so far; and another way is to expand in a big way both qualitatively and quantitatively benchmarking ourselves with international standards."

The second alternative, he said, requires huge resources running into several crores of rupees. This would be possible only with the active support of the central government.

"By world class institution, if it means that we should have in India something like the Singapore Law School, such a decision has to be taken at the highest level," he said.

"But let me however assure that the NLSIU is prepared to take up the challenge, if it gets the green signal from government. We have already drawn up an action plan in this regard."

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