PM calls for dramatic reforms in quality of legal education system

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New Delhi,May 1 (ANI): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday called for dramatic reform and improvement in the scope and quality of legal education system to make law fraternity sensitive to the needs of the marginalised sections.

"If we are to have a society, as we must be, where the common man and common woman to have speedy and affordable access to justice, if we are to have in our country the prevalence in effect of the rule of law, if we are to have an economic environment where contracts are enforceable, then we must ensure our law teachers, practicing advocates, corporate legal luminaries, legal advisors, judicial officers and legal facilitators are indeed men and women of very high intellectual caliber. And this is possible only if there is dramatic reform and improvement in the scope and quality of our legal education system," said Singh while inaugurating the two-day National Consultation for Second Generation Reforms in Legal Education in the national capital.

Dr. Singh also said that there is an urgent need for adopting national uniform code for legal education in the country.

"It is only relatively recently that areas like ethics in the judicial profession, clinical legal education, alternative dispute resolution, rights of refugees, rights of prisoners and women and child rights, are being given their legitimate due in the legal curriculum. There is an urgent need to integrate these and other areas into a national, uniform course module with fewer exceptions and fewer divergences," the PM added.

Emphasizing the need for legal education to be inclusive, Dr. Singh said that the legal professionals must be sensitive to the vulnerable sections of the society.

"Our legal education system should be particularly sensitive to the needs of the marginalized sections of our society like women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the poor. Not only should these sections of society be adequately represented among law students, the legal education we impart should inculcate sensitivity towards the special needs of the under-privileged sections of our community," Dr. Singh noted.

The PM also called for raising the standards of law schools to make them institutions of excellence.

"We do have a small number of dynamic and outstanding law schools, but I am afraid they remain islands of excellence amidst a sea of institutionalised mediocrity. We are not even marginally nearer to profound scholarship and enlightened research in law," said Singh.

He also said that one of the most challenging tasks in legal education in India is to strike a proper balance to ensure that students are taught a fair mix of courses that give them nowledge and training in Indian law. At the same time they should be prepared for facing the challenges of globalization, where domestic legal mechanisms interact with both international nd foreign legal systems. (ANI)

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