Posts Tagged "diversity in legal education"

IDIA sensitization at K J Somaiya Junior College of Arts and Commerce, Ghatkopar, Mumbai

By on Jan 19, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

The IDIA team consisting of Shreya Parikh, Smriti Bahety, Heena Rohra and Prajna Mohapatra conducted the sensitization programme on law as a career option at the K.J. Somaiya Junior College of Arts and Commerce. Eleventh standard students from both the Arts and the Commerce streams attended the sensitization. The supervising administrative staff expressed the advantages of communicating in vernacular (i.e. Hindi or Marathi) to connect better with the demographic present in the classroom. Therefore, we improvised and used a fair bit of Hindi to optimise its interaction with the audience. There were approximately 100 students who attended the sensitization and about 20 of them showed interest in taking the IDIA aptitude test later this month. We are confident that many more will take the test when it is conducted. We set up a power point projector for the presentation and distributed the IDIA brochures among the students. We specifically discussed the role and importance of NLUs, the high fee structure prevailing in the NLUs, the requirement of law aspirants to undergo coaching to crack a standardized exam like the CLAT, etc. We also discussed the role of IDIA in helping students attain financial assistance/ fee waivers (in case of admission to the top 3 law schools) and training to crack the CLAT. We also presented a short skit enacting a court-room drama to demonstrate that argumentation is fun and law is not just about deciding what is wrong and what is right. We ended the sensitization programme with real life examples of IDIA scholars and invited questions from the audience. The students were shy and reluctant to speak up before the entire class to get their doubts addressed — however, many of them did personally come up to the IDIA team at the end of the presentation to understand more about how IDIA trains its students and the manner in which it handholds...

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Jitholi Report (9th November, 2012 & 23rd December, 2012)

By on Dec 31, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Jitholi Report (9th November, 2012 & 23rd December, 2012)

9th November, 2012: A team comprising of Diptoshree Basu, Shivain Vaidialingam, Purushottam Anand and Shanta Chirravuri visited Jitholi along with Gayatri Bedi and Madhav Rao, representatives of General Electric (GE), on 9th November, 2012. As always, Prof. M.P. Singh accompanied us for the visit. The second and final aptitude test was conducted for the students of Kalpataru Vidyalaya. The number of students appearing for this test was significantly lower than the previous test with the number falling from 51 to 27. Also, one of the students appearing for this test had not appeared for the first aptitude test. As the students were already aware of the role IDIA plays in assisting with training for the admissions to National Law Schools, we started the session by interacting with the students to make them comfortable. The students were asked their reasons for wanting to become a lawyer. Recognising the lack of access to legal services for villagers, most of them wanted to come back to their village and provide legal assistance to anyone who needed it. After this round of interaction, we handed out the test to everyone.   The aptitude test comprised of 45 questions of 1 mark each and the duration of the test was 1 hr and 15 mins. The level of English in the test was relatively higher than the English that the students were exposed to, in the course of their regular curriculum. Because of this, extra time was given to the students to complete the test. Once the test was completed, the papers were corrected and marks for different sections were noted separately. The students were then shortlisted for an individual interaction with us. The highest score was 31 out of a total of 45. All students who secured 17 and above were called for the counselling. Out of those who secured 16, two of them were selected based on their performance in the legal aptitude section of the paper. Therefore, a total of eight students were shortlisted by the end of this process. We counselled each one of the eight students individually. All the students were informed about the role of IDIA and that they would be enrolled with LST at Meerut this year itself. The problem with most of the students seemed to be that even though they know basic English, they still lack in vocabulary and are not able to understand some words or phrases used in questions. Due to this difference in the level of English, the 12th grade and college going students were advised not to give the exam in 2013. They were instead told to focus on their boards and join/continue college next year while simultaneously preparing for the law entrance exams for 2014. Two of the students were apprehensive about being part of the programme because previously students were enrolled in IMS in Meerut which subsequently shut down and as a result their preparations were hampered. They expressed their concern over the fact that sensitisations had been conducted previously, however, no action had been taken subsequently, regarding enrolment or training. One of the students was also hesitant as his parents were against him appearing for the law entrance exam and wanted him to pursue engineering instead. After speaking with all of them and giving them sufficient time to think about their options, a follow up call was made. During the next visit to Jitholi, the team resolved to collect the income certificates of the selected candidates. In order to monitor their progress and guide them, the team decided to plan a visit to Jitholi at least twice a...

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Donnie’s Fight for Justice: Celebrating Arbitrariness?

By on Jun 22, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Dear Anuj: A friend of mine once remarked in jest: “If you counsel Lucifer too often, you might end up sounding just like him, or worse still, becoming him”. But we don’t need to engage with the devil here. Let’s just go back to the basics and revisit Law 101, shall we? An underprivileged child is denied admission to a national law university on the basis of a rule that has no “legal” validity… since it very clearly goes against the parent “statute” and regulations of the University-the constitutional charter of the institution, so to speak. A judge sees merit in the case and orders that a seat be kept vacant till the next hearing. The law school sees that there is no point getting an adverse order (and publicity) and settles by offering him admission. They even go to the extent of undertaking that the impugned rule shall be removed from the brochure. And this boy (and all the people who rallied behind him) are now accused by you of subverting a sacrosanct legal process? Or setting a dangerous precedent, merely because they fought for justice? Of being “hypocrites” that support arbitrariness and autocracy? Of being dimwits (“mindless sheep…led to the gallows” as your article states)) . I had to pinch myself several times to belief that this was actually written by someone with 5 years of legal training! You note in your piece that: “The petition also questioned the constitutional validity of particular provisions of the GNLU Act, 2003 and the GNLU Regulations, 2009 but this issue was not pressed before the Court.” The petition never questioned the constitutionality of the GNLU Charter (GNLU Act/Regulations)! Rather it simply argued that a new admission criteria inserted into the GNLU brochure (that a candidate who clears his or her Class 12 exam only in the second shot is not entitled to admission, even despite a high CLAT score) is against the GNLU charter. A University is governed by its parent charter (Act and Regulations). It cannot introduce any new rules through a brochure that effectively goes against the charter. If it wishes to introduce a new rule, it has to necessarily amend its charter. Since it did not do so in this case, the brochure condition is illegal. Simple, sweet, straightforward….an argument appreciable by even those that have not had the benefit of a premier legal education like you. To borrow your phraseology, what good is legal education if you cannot read and understand a simple legal brief? What good is legal education, if you cannot empathize with those that are born into less privileged families than yours and have had to struggle to just stay afloat? What good is it if you point fingers at a poor kid who had the courage and conviction to fight for what is right and just? Through means that were well within the contours of the law. And succeed he did …in effectively sterilising a highly arbitrary and illegal rule. News items in the wake of his victory will clearly suggest to you (and anyone else with the patience to do their homework) that GNLU agreed to amend its impugned rule. I quote from one such publicly available news report: “With GNLU agreeing to modify its rules, Donnie was granted admission into the university and he paid his fees on Tuesday. The HC disposed of Donnie’s petition after GNLU counsel Dharmistha Raval informed the court about the university’s policy decision. Besides Donnie, another student who did not get admission at GNLU because he did not clear his Class XII exam in first...

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Report on the IDIA Kollam Sensitization Program

By on Jul 30, 2010 in Blog | 0 comments

Report on the IDIA Kollam Sensitization Program

The Kollam chapter of IDIA commenced on 29-7-2010 at Kollam Government Model Boys HSS. A team consisting of Rahul, Vineetha, Deepa, ,Tintu, Jiju and Mahesh conducted the sensitization program and the aptitude test with the students of the humanities stream. Many of the students belonged to economically weak background and were unaware about the career prospects of Law. Only one student initially evinced interest in pursuing law as a career. However, as the session commenced, students displayed eagerness to know about law and the diverse opportunities in store for law graduates. Soon doubts began to pour in and we were overwhelmed by the response. Queries were mostly with respect to the differences between an ordinary law degree and B.A,LL.B.(Hons.), the prospects of a National Law School graduate etc. The team members were soon involved in clearing umpteen doubts raised by students. After this fruitful interactive session, the aptitude test was conducted. Subsequently, we invited the principal of the school Mrs. Mathuri to wind up the session. By then the number of students interested in pursuing law had gone up to 7. Buoyed by the overwhelming response, the principal requested us to conduct sessions for students of science and commerce stream also. Faustin, the class leader proposed the vote of thanks and the program came to an end at around...

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Inauguration of IDIA Kerala Chapter by Hon’ble Justice D. Sreedevi

By on Jul 18, 2010 in Blog | 0 comments

Inauguration of IDIA Kerala Chapter by Hon’ble Justice D. Sreedevi

The Kerala chapter of IDIA kicked off at St .Mary’s H.S.S, Pattom, Trivandrum on July 17, 2010. The function was inaugurated by Hon’ble Justice D. Sreedevi, the former High Court Judge and the present Chairperson of Kerala Womens Commission. The function was attended by the 11th and 12th std. students of the Humanities stream of St. Mary’s school besides IDIA volunteers from Trivandrum and Kochi. Father George Mathew Karoor, Principal, St. Mary’s school also graced the occasion with his presence. Aswathy Kusumam, volunteer, IDIA welcomed the gathering. Mr. Raghul Sudheesh, State Co-ordinator, IDIA delivered the presidential address. This was followed by an inspiring speech by Hon’ble Justice D. Sreedevi. Beginning with the maxim “Ignorance of law is not an excuse”, Justice D. Sreedevi went on to give a very informative speech on the importance of law in our society. She proceeded to trace her own career as an example and how her dislike for law gradually disappeared and ultimately evolved into her passion with her stay in the profession. She elucidated upon the need for awareness and knowledge of law not only among the legal fraternity but also among the laymen so as to ensure that the objects set out in the Constitution and other mighty documents like UN Declaration on Human Rights are accomplished. She also dwelt upon the prospects of law as a career and the bright future which a rapidly developing economy like India held for law graduates. Her enlightening speech ensured that the students present got a clear picture about scope of law as a profession. It was an eye opener for many students who were unaware about law as a career and helped remove common misconceptions. Father George Mathew Karoor praised the initiative and wished IDIA all success. Ms. Vineetha Vinayan, Thiruvananthapuram Regional Co-ordinator, IDIA, proposed the vote of thanks. The inaugural ceremony was followed by an interactive session with the students. It was headed by Mr. Raghul Sudheesh, the State Co-ordinator of IDIA. The students were initially hesitant to open up and needed a bit of persuasion. Soon doubts began to pour in. The enthusiasm of the students was seconded by each and every person in the hall and every query was accompanied with encouraging applause. From the concept of National Law Schools to the varied avenues which a law graduate could pursue, students were keen on getting all their doubts clarified. However, the deeply ingrained notion that law as a career meant the career of a practicing lawyer with struggle during initial years still persisted among many. The ignorance about law was evident when a student hailing from Chennai stated that “I was in Chennai for many years and have never heard about a law college in Chennai.” He was at dark about the existence of colleges like School of Excellence in Law. The fact that majority of the students were unaware about the prospects of a noble profession like law testified the need for a mass movement like IDIA to ensure that the benefits of law as a profession percolates down to the lower strata of the society so that they in turn can contribute to the growth of the masses they represent. Report prepared by Murali Krishnan and Saira...

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