RGNLU Campus Review: The community connect
The state-of-the-art campus at Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law encourages excellence in education and research. Asia’s largest moot court and single-faculty library adds glitter to it…
The students of Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law (RGNUL) are proud of the fact that the current Chief Justice of India, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, was their Chancellor. Justice Gogoi was the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2011-12 when he became the Chancellor of RGNUL, situated in Patiala.
Launched in 2006, Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law began its classes from a heritage building in Patiala. Soon, the Sidhuwal panchayat on the outskirts of the city donated 47.3 acres of land free to the university for building a new campus. Though the final phase of construction is still on, the brand new campus of RGNUL is a neighbour’s pride for the local community. The university has reserved one seat in LLB for a member of the local community. The RGNUL has also recruited all its support staff in many departments from the Sidhuwal village.
Quality infrastructure, top faculty
“We have the best infrastructure in the country. All the faculty members are UGC qualified and we have an excellent library facility. Our legal aid cell and various centres are connected to the society. We have also adopted five adjoining villages where we spread legal literacy and provide legal aid,” says Prof. Paramjit S Jaswal, Vice-Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law.
“We are the first National Law University to be accredited A Grade by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council. We also have the largest moot court in Asia,” adds Prof. Jaswal, a nearly four-decade veteran in legal education.
The university also has the distinction of having the largest floor area of 72,000 sq. ft. for university with a single faculty. “Ninety-eight percent of our faculty has a doctorate degree,” says Prof. Jaswal, an expert in constitutional law and human rights, and former Head of Department of Law at Panjab University, Chandigarh.
The university runs programmes at the undergraduate, postgraduate and research levels. The B.A. LLB (Hons) programme has 180 seats each year while LLM has 40 seats. There are currently more than 30 students registered for the PhD programme at RGNUL with an additional four post-doctorate scholars. There are four specialisations for B.A. LLB and LLM -- constitutional law, business law, criminal law and international law and human rights.
“Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab aims at providing legal education to equip the students with legal acumen, so that they can become competent lawyers, able administrators and conscientious judicial officers,” says Dr. Brindpreet Kaur, who teaches economics at the university.
“Being an autonomous university, the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law drafts its own curriculum and the scheme of study is framed so as to conform to the international parameters of academics and also facilitate research in many of the contemporary issues that pertain to legal knowledge,” adds Dr. Kaur.
The course curriculum of the university emphasises an interdisciplinary approach whereby the social sciences papers are taught parallel to law papers in order to enable the students to develop an interface between law and other social sciences. “The knowledge of the law subjects is imparted not only theoretically but also with an applicative approach,” says Dr Kaur.
The students organise field visits and court visits so that they are able to apply the knowledge acquired inside the four walls of the classroom to real life practice. To enable students to understand the human rights challenges in the state of Punjab and to analyse the crime pattern, profiles of crime and convicts in Punjab and regular jail visits are also conducted.
“Legal profession is one of the most challenging and noble professions of the day. Gone are the days when students used to opt for law as the last option or when only the left out students used to opt for law,” says Manoj Kumar Sharma, Assistant Professor (Law). “However, with the advent of new law schools and opening up of the economy, law firms have come to occupy an important role in legal profession.
“The infrastructure at law schools is at par with the international standards attracting not only Indian students but also foreign students. Law universities have state-of-the-art campuses, latest curriculum catering to the needs of the industry, availability of access to online databases, good accommodations and quality faculty,” adds Dr Sharma.
“The university offers a dynamic curriculum in the form of various subjects of humanities such as sociology, political science, economics and history,” says Anishka Gupta, a final year B.A.LLB student at RGNUL. “The RGNUL scheme of study also recognizes the importance of languages, and makes it compulsory for students to study English as well as a foreign language. The students are given an option to choose one field of specialisation from criminal law, constitutional law, corporate law and international law in order to help them to get equipped with a particular field of their interest and get expertise in the same,” adds Gupta.
Legal Aid Clinic
Community connect is an essential part of campus life at RGNUL. Students are roped in for voluntary services rendered through the Legal Aid Clinic set up at the university. The university has adopted nearby villages of Sidhuwal and Lachkani for development, promotion of human rights and Swachhata. Another highlight of the university is a School of Agricultural Law and Economics, which has the provision for diploma courses on Agricultural Law so as to enable the students to understand the agrarian law and challenges in a state traditionally strong for its farming.
“The project system in academics helped me to develop writing and expression skills,” says final year B.A LLB student Rahul Yadav. “The university library is one of the biggest law libraries in the country. At RGNUL, hostel accommodation is the best among law universities across India. I have received the opportunity to intern under good advocates and law firms,” adds Yadav.
The university, which has so far published 39 books on law, also comes out with a legal research journal, and a journal on human rights practices, besides a student-run journal. There is also an RGNUL Law Review published by the university. The undergraduate programme of the university has 850 students. There is also a Legal Aid Centre on the campus while the library has 33,000 titles and 107 periodicals. “Our library is the largest single-faculty library in Asia,” says Prof. Jaswal. A modern gymnasium, football ground, and courts for basketball, tennis and volleyball help students avail of modern sports facilities on the campus.
The university has signed Memorandum of Understanding with several Indian and international universities for exchange of students and faculty. Among the foreign universities are Pepperdine University in California, United States, Laurentian University in Sudbury, Canada and University of Naples, Italy.