Chanakya National Law University, Patna, takes the lead in legal research and awareness through experienced faculty and committed student community…
Samar Pratap Singh, a fourth-year LLB student at the Chanakya National Law University (CNLU), Patna, can’t hide his pride when he says, “I drafted the new Provident Fund Scheme for a Bihar bridge construction company.” Singh, who helped the state-run Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam Ltd (BRPNNL) amend its existing PF scheme, symbolises the commitment of law students at CNLU to contributing to community. The BRPNLL was bringing in changes to its PF scheme for employees after nearly four decades when it sought the help of CNLU. Singh joined an advocate’s firm to draft the amendments.
Founded in 2006, CNLU has grown to become one of the most important and influential higher education and research institutions in Bihar. With a faculty drawn from the state’s top judiciary, the university blends learning and research to advance legal education in the country. Many institutions in the state regularly draw from the university’s rich and varied experience in law. Led by Vice-Chancellor (in-charge) Justice Mridula Mishra, a former judge of the Patna High Court, the university attracts students from across the country to its sprawling campus situated in the city centre. Patna High Court Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi is the Chancellor of CNLU.
Launching pad for careers
The university runs two five-year degree courses in law, namely B.A. LLB (Hons) and BBA. LLB (Hons). At the post-graduate level, there is LLM (Master of Law) and at the research-level, Ph.D/D.Phil in Law. “More than 30 percent of our former students are in banking and insurance sectors,” says Ajay Kumar, Professor (Law) and Dean, Academic Affairs. “I teach the subjects with a practical approach. It is important how a contract helps a banker or insurance manager, whether the instruments are good or bad,” explains Prof. Kumar, a former teacher at the Patna Law College and a well-known human rights activist.
“A large number of our students have joined judicial services all over the country,” says Ganesh Pandey, Assistant Professor (Tax Laws). A founding faculty member at CNLU, Pandey believes knowledge of tax laws is necessary not only for lawyers but for everyone. “With the economy expanding at a faster pace than ever before and in view of the economic integration at a global level, tax laws provide an insight into these new areas,” he says. “Cross-border transactions are on the rise and every investment invariably involves some tax implications. On the domestic front too, both for individual as well as corporate tax payer, knowledge of tax laws is necessary to order their transactions,” he adds, pointing to implementation of a comprehensive indirect tax reforms in the form of GST, which has the potential to revolutionize the indirect tax regime in the country leading to a fair and transparent system where tax evasion becomes difficult.
Out of 110 CNLU students who passed out last year, 52 of them joined the judicial services in Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. “We have an excellent placement record for our students,” says Prof. Kumar, who is faculty coordinator of CNLU’s placement cell. The eagerness of students to serve the country’s judicial system is seen as a significant trend, especially because of the high standards of legal knowledge and acumen these students bring to the system, which badly needs injection of fresh blood. The university’s fresh graduates are also in demand among the top law firms.
“We have plenty of time for research and participating in internships,” says student Samar Pratap Singh, who also assisted in writing a book on legal aid in Bihar.
Promoting legal awareness
Building traditional cultural ethos is one of the objectives of the university, which organises advanced studies and research in all branches of law. There is also strong emphasis on promoting legal awareness in the community that will lead to the realisation of the constitutional goals. The 35-member faculty of CNLU also receives continuous support from visiting professors, like Dr Anshuman (who uses only one name), a member of Bihar State Law Commission, who teaches procedural law, criminal procedure code and professional ethics.
“Legal profession ensures a responsibility towards the society. Norms have to be followed by a lawyer every day. Professional ethics have a broader meaning. Standard rules are framed by Bar Council of India, which are to be followed. The curriculum contains everything, but it has to be followed,” says Dr Anshuman, who teaches professional ethics to final year LLB students.
In November, a new Child Rights Centre was inaugurated at CNLU to promote awareness about the rights and laws regarding children. “The Child Rights Centre would ensure proper implementation of all the constitutional provisions for safeguarding children’s rights,” the CNLU Vice Chancellor said at the inaugural ceremony.
With the university led by legal luminaries, the opportunity for students to learn from the best is a strong point of CNLU. One of the benefits is working with the Patna High Court judges as clerks to gain knowledge and experience. In November, the Patna High Court Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi, visited the campus to interact with the students.
Prof. Ajay Kumar,
Dean, Academic Affairs, CNLU
More than 30 percent of our former students are in banking and insurance sectors. I teach the subjects with a practical approach. It is important how a contract helps a banker or insurance manager, whether the instruments are good or bad
Samar Pratap Singh,
Fourth-year LLB Student, CNLU
It is important to promote arbitration as a mode of dispute settlement and career choice for students. Arbitration helps in reducing burden on court and it is time-bound. Parties get to choose their own arbitrator and their own rules of arbitration
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