India needs to focus on regulatory bodies: CJI

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Kochi, Nov 3: Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan today expressed concern about the lack of sufficient centres working on the issue of regulatory studies in the country and said India should take the lead in providing alternative models of regulation.

Delivering the first annual convocation address at the National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS) here, Mr Balakrishnan said as the country gained a higher international profile, independent regulatory authorities were going to gain increasing importance.

''It is for India to take the lead amongst developing countries and provide alternative and improved models of regulation,'' the Chief Justice said.

He said the country was also facing a shortage of well trained lawyers not just at the Bar but also at various law offices, government legal drafting departments and in legal academic institutions.

When the first National Law School (NLS) was started in Bangalore about two decades ago, it was thought of as an experiment in legal education. Having achieved reasonable success in enhancing quality, it was now time for institutions such as the NLS and NUALS to move towards quantity, he said.

At the same time, the CJI reminded the young lawyers of their obligation to make India an equitable society. ''It need not be stated that India's success will not only be tested against its independent achievements but through whether we can build an inclusive and harmonious society,'' he added.

Pro-Chancellor of the University and Kerala Education Minister M A Baby said while the national law schools had emerged as centres of excellence and transformed the quality and status of legal education, insiders had pointed out that the course curriculum was not ''socially or politically contextualised''. Expressing concern at ''this technocratic and socially insensitive approach,'' Mr Baby said there was a need to make a ''social audit'' of the national law schools to ascertain the contribution of these institutions to the development of Indian law, improvement of professional standards and the quality of administration of justice in India.

''Unless these issues are addressed, we will have a paradoxical situation wherein the brilliant products of the centres of excellence in legal education use their expertise to serve the needs of the corporate sector, mostly the transnationals, while the defence of the human rights of the most vulnerable sections of the community will be left neglected to a great extent,'' he cautioned.

Earlier, in his welcome address, acting Vice-Chancellor of NUALS Dr N Narayanan Nair said many of the students graduating today had already been picked up in campus selection to work in reputed law firms and corporate institutions.

Thanking the Kerala Government for allotting ten acres of land in a prime suburban area of Kochi for the NUALS campus, he said construction of buildings was going on and would be completed soon.

However, he urged the state government to delete the label 'self-financing' from the NUALS Act as this was creating many hurdles in mobilising resources for the institution.

Among those present on the occasion were Kerala Chief Justice and NUALS Chancellor Justice H L Dattu, senior judges, Advocate General Sudhakara Prasad and Bar Council of India Chairman S Gopakumaran Nair.


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