In Solidarity: A Letter To Law Students Fighting Arbitrary Rules, Oppressive Admins

Dear Law Students,

The legal profession is one of the most elite professions across the world. Lawyers, mostly budding ones, are the ones who are often more vocal about their rights and privileges. Mere knowledge of the law makes an individual special as they are the ones who are fearless and vibrant amongst all. It is generally seen that law students are the pioneers of activism. The Aarey Forest protest followed by the petition of a law student from Lloyd Law College, Greater Noida is one of the most recent examples of that approach of activism which is inculcated by legal studies.

At the same time, it is pertinent to note that India’s legal education system has been going through a difficult phase for the past few years. Every now and then, there comes the news of protest from some or the other institution.

‘To be the voice of the voiceless’ is what we are taught in our classrooms. But imagine a situation where you are in a law school, you wake up in the morning and have breakfast made up of practically inedible substances and then your Professor teaches you to be the ‘voice of the voiceless’. Will you ever be able to do that? And this is not an imaginary situation. This is what happened in Rajiv Gandhi National University (RGNUL) in Patiala a few months back.

The students of the HNLU Raipur, NLU Odisha, and HPNLU Shimla have faced similar kind of situations in their universities, which were once called the islands of excellence by the former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. For a moment, one might think that the NLUO and HPNLU are new NLUs, so the students might face certain infrastructural difficulties. But this is definitely not the case because recently the students of NLSIU Bangalore, which is a world-class premier institute imparting legal education in India, went on protest. Their protest was regarding the appointment of Dr. Sudhir Krishnaswamy as the Vice-Chancellor of the University. What followed next was even worse.

BarAndBench reported how, “In a letter addressed to CJI Gogoi by BCI Co-Chairman Ved Prakash Sharma, attention is drawn to the “unruly elements” who have forced a boycott of classes at the “most outstanding legal education centre of the country and the world”. The BCI also came out in defense of NLSIU Registrar Prof O V Nandimath.”

The letter went on to say that “The students’ body is indulging in acts of misdemeanor and indiscipline which is bringing down the image of the institution in the estimation of one and all. The students’ body is crossing its limit by trying to question the functioning of the Executive Council and accusing the Registrar by imputing motives on him…”

The most recent incident which has followed the row is from one of the most disciplined law schools in India, the Army Institute of Law, Mohali. The students have been protesting since October 15. Their demands were almost similar to the demands of other legal education institutions.

The question is, what stops the college administrations from fulfilling the demands of the students? What kind of arrogance is this that the students cannot even have a decent meal in a day? What kind of example is being set by all the college administrations that if students will protest, they will face consequences afterward?

I have gone through this phase which my juniors are currently facing in various universities. The administration will do everything to scare you and oppress your demands. It might be in the form of deduction of marks in internals, it might be some kind of personal allegation, it might be some kind of emotional blackmail, and hundreds of other ways that the administration is busy in modifying right now. As I write this letter, many of you would think that I am instigating your emotions, but the question for you is:

What kind of lawyer you are going to be if you can’t fairly raise your voice against the ongoing oppression?

Be your own voice, because the world outside the law school is waiting for you to be their voice.

Image for representative purposes only.
Image source: Amrita Pratap
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