Prof. Dr. K. L. Bhatia
Draft New Education Policy 2019, if ever implemented, shall be pulsating as well as vibrant. NEP in an ocean within a tear emphasizes that education is quintessence of knowledge from foundational learning to higher education inclusive technology and vocational education. Education is embodiment of learning. Learning is a continuous process from cradle to crawl to walk to talk to eternal eternity. Education has been daunted centre since independence and Dr. S. Radhakrishnan Report 1948, Education Policy 1986 and 1992 Reports failed to dent the challenges the education system countenance.
NEP comprises Four Parts penned down in 477 pages explaining the four wings on fire to overcome the crisis of education in India, viz., Learning to Know; Learning to Do; Learning to Live together; and Learning to Be (to develop personality) devoid of to be or not to be.
Part II (Pages 200-338) is devoted to Higher Education both Professional and Non-Professional Education inclusive Technology in Education and Vocational Education (Part III Pages 339-390) to transforming education in new millennia. Chapter 16 of Part II gives vent to in depth narrative on Professional Education. Chapter 16.7 (Pages 303-304) devotes hardly one page on the discourse of Legal Education in India. It seems as if legal education being professional has been least precedence for the authors of NEP.
Legal Education in India has been more theoretical in dissemination and less experiential in legal practice orientation except only Moot Court exercises. Bar Council of India governs three years LL.B. program and five years B.A./ B.Com./ B.Sc./ B.B.A./ B.Tech. LL.B. integrated program or M.B.A. LL.B. 6 years integrated program. U.G.C. manages LL.M. (two years as well as one year) and doctorate in law programs.
Pune International Seminar 1972 had looked into the crisis the legal education in India faced and to plug loopholes therein and suggested corrective measures by gaining international experiences to bringing revolutionary transformations in legal education in India. This was reiterated in Chandigarh Workshop with a suggestion to move a step ahead in five years integrated legal education in India after 10+2 schooling. UGC CDC Report in two volumes under the Chairmanship of a living legend in Law Professor Upendra Baxi had put conscientious efforts to suggesting measures to bring in transformation in legal education in India. U.G.C. C. D. C. 2001 Report under doyen legal educationist Professor P. Leelakrishnan, along with a team of prominent legal enthusiasts including the author submitted an exhaustive report to bringing improvements in legal education in India both at undergraduate with honors and post-graduate levels. Lastly, the Bar Council of India Curriculum Development Committee’s Draft document on five years LL. B. integrated course has endeavored to present blueprint for five years law courses. Be that as it may, the said reports have not been looked into by the Law Schools of India with majestic splendid bliss as those ought to have been.
However, conscientious efforts are imperative to wriggle out the puzzle as to how to integrate non-law subjects with law subjects. The objective of introducing five years integrated law course was to disseminate to the law students a vivid correlation approach, namely, why a study of history and law is imperative in the domain of legal education; why economics and law is expedient; why language and law integration or configuration is essential to develop legal language and legal writing; why political science and law is necessary; why psychology and law interaction is the need of the day; why sociology and law is imminent; why science and technology and law integration is about to come particularly in the regime of patent and intellectual property law in the light of Novartis case and Basmati case; why commerce and law is the need of time in the furtherance of economic unity and fiscal integration; why business management and law is prominent in improving court management with least purloining haunt?
The object new legal education policy ought to be to inculcate an interest in the assimilation of evolution of law, legal and constitutional institutions. The new legal education policy ought to aim at generating a deep interest in the domain that should not make an impression in the minds of thinkers to say that justice delivery system is good in law but bad in economics. Legal education is to stimulate an interest in the young law students that how political theories of law, socio-economic-distributive justice, freedom, State as Nation, welfare are urgently crucial to the working of democratic constitution culture, trust, polity and morality. The new legal education policy ought to address to kindle correlation between law and psychogenic, sociogenic and anthropogenic approaches. It will help lawmen to gain deep insights in the understanding of deviant behavior, causes of social disorganization and approaches to re-socialization or social re-organization. The New Legal Education Policy should substantially present blueprint for creating the use of legal language and legal writing in simple legal English, devoid of legalese or legalism or verbosity, which should appear to be the soul of professionalism in an ocean within a tear.
Transformative Legal Education should have two pronged strategic approaches. New Legal Education Policy should be devised or designed to making world class litigant lawyers, judges, law craftsmen, law professionals, law professors, law researchers and law thinkers.
First, Experiential Learning Law (ELL) ought to be the priority. ELL ought to be directed to training taught about the interstices as well as intricacies of law at trial court and higher court practice through the instrumentality of Mock Trial and Moot Court. It has been the long experience that Mock Trial has been the least mode of instructions in Law Schools of the country; the only emphasis has been on Moot Court exercise. It is the fact that the concept of legal education has undergone sea-change to cope with the demands created by the global free market economy and corporatization of the business. This indeed has generated new innovative areas of employment in the field of law at the national and transnational spheres. Unfortunately, traditional system of legal education, for various and varied reasons, was not in a position to accept the challenge. Therefore, a new approach to legal education which was the need of the hour was provided by National Law Universities. These Universities developed market oriented specialized courses and adopted new techniques, technologies and strategies for invigorating teaching-learning process. In order to develop critical thinking and analytical skills a new strategy of Clinical Legal Education through the modus of “Court Room Exercises” focusing only on Moot Court Exercises is followed as a regular component in the teaching-learning process with slightest focus on Mock Trial Exercises. And, same pattern has been the mode of teaching-learning course of action in Law Schools of the public-private Universities and private colleges affiliated to such Universities. The reasons are not far too seek. In traditional system of legal education this strategy is not unknown, but for various reasons could not be used in any regular basis as a part of regular teaching-learning process.
New Legal Education Policy in India in the new millennia ought to focus on ELL, viz., learning is a continuous process; teaching through experiential learning is a passion; research of cases for Mock Trial (Trial Court Practice) and Moot Court (Higher Court or Appellate Court Practice) problems is a human instinct with passion; writing Mock Trial and Moot Court problems for niche law students is an art; and the cumulative of such learning, teaching and research and writing is a process of assimilation and dissemination of experiential learning on the touchstone of Clinical Legal Education. Writing this about New Legal Education Policy in India has been the combined impact of all the vibes and experiences. A strong comprehension of case law is imperative for sound understanding of the intricacies of the bare provisions of law. Mock Trial and Moot Court is a process to understand the bare provisions of law in experiential learning of law.
In the backdrop of this, Mock Trial and Moot Court should not be taken as mere rites and rituals in teaching-learning modules. Mock Trial and Moot Court train niche law students to think like a lawyer and producer to be lawyer. Mock Trials and Moot Courts tend to make legal eagles as architects and not as masons, of legal practice in legal profession.
(The author is former Dean Faculty of Law and Founder Director The Law School University of Jammu; Professor National Law University Jodhpur)
Mock Trials and Moot Courts make the law students to be legal eagles and not legal vultures. Mock Trials and Moot Courts should not be conceded as an extra-curricular activity, but rather be conceded as a regular feature of legal-curricular activity. Being a regular feature of legal-curricular activity, Mock Trials and Moot Courts are simulated court process/proceedings in which student-participants learn, imbibe and emulate court management, court hunting, court etiquettes, art to and art of advocacy including drafting memorials (briefs), counter memorials, sharpening communication — both oral and wring — skills, and tending to help in many ways to be disciplinarian participants in simulated court proceedings.
Besides, the currents in the modern legal education in India have to keep pace with global waves. Therefore, an in depth training in Mock Trials and Moots is imperative to make the law students good in speaking and articulation. To be articulate in speaking, it requires assiduous practice through the medium of Mock Trials and Mooting. Since our legal practice is largely oral and extempore, therefore, forensic of fluency and clear enumeration are imperative as well as important for the lawyer which can be learnt by taking part in Mock Trials and Moots. Besides, communication is the genesis of advocacy.
Technicalities, convolutions and obscurities are scabbard, which justice does not require to be swayed away by them? As it is beautifully summed up, “Justice is a sword which requires no scabbard. These scabbard create language confusion”, which should be avoided in the judicial process expression. An example of lawyer’s law language explains the verbosity of legal language:
Lawyer’s law language
Is the comprehension
Judge and Co.
Perpetuates in the name of precedent
Incomprehensible to a layman
Not the justified
Community needs and interests.
Second, Centres of Excellence: It seems expedient that New Legal Education Policy in India ought to be with resonance as well as reverberation to bringing cultural and educational renaissance in Indian Legal Education Pedagogy to producing Legends in Law. As such, Centers of Excellence should be expounded in Law Schools to bind the posterity for ages to come. The Centers of Excellence may be:
i. Centre of Strategising Integration of Non-Law and Law Subjects
ii. Centre of Community and Social Justice Lawyering inclusive of Access to Justice and Juvenile Justice
iii. Centre of Comparative Constitutionalism
iv. Centre of Inclusive and Equitable Development (This shall be inclusive of studying in depth the challenges of Delay in Justice Delivery System wrapped in mystery inside an enigma)
v. Centre of transforming the Foundational Values of Indian Democracy
vi. Centre of Transformative Jurisprudence from the precepts of Dharmoprudence to comprehending history of legal system ; to comprehending the evolution of Legal Institutions ; to comprehending Justice Delivery System having the genesis Dharme Sarvam Prathishtam and Yato Dharma Satato Jaya ; to comprehending evolution of Legal Thinking (Our emphasis till date has been from the precepts of Euro-American Jurisprudence). It may be pertinent to submit that religious scriptures of the world are not meant only for performing religious rituals and blind worship but they are True Life Guiding Scriptures, which are based on Scientific Laws of Mother Nature and Life for establishing a holistic Peace Loving Global Society.
vii. Centre of Philosophy of Vivekananda and Good Governance to Sustainable Governance
viii. Centre of Advancement Technology in Legal Education (Conflict between Privacy and Data)
In mutual trust and faith there is gleaming spark to achieving the aspiring and wannabe goals.