An eye on law

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By GET THE LOWDOWN ON THE INSTITUTE OF THE WEEK National University of Juridical Sciences, Calcutta Gaurav Singhi, advocate, Calcutta High Court, remembers his time at the NUJS
  • Published 18.01.07
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Vital Statistics
What is it? A university for imparting legal education.
Who's the boss? Mahendra Pal Singh is the vice-chancellor.
How cheap is it? Tuition fees for the bachelors programmes are Rs 35,000
per annum.
What about jobs? There is a placement cell.
Where is it? The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, NUJS Bhavan, 12 LB Block, Sector-III, Salt Lake City,
Calcutta-700098.
Phone:2335-0534/7379/0765.
Fax:2335-7422/0511.
Website: www.nujs.edu

The National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) is one of the most prestigious institutions for legal education in the country. Sarbopriyo Mukherjee, a practising lawyer at the Calcutta High Court who was educated at King’s College, UK, says, “NUJS is an excellent institution for anyone seeking to make a career in law.”

The institution was started in 1999 by legal education pioneer N.R. Madhava Menon and seven years on, it has made rapid strides towards establishing itself as one of India’s foremost law schools — one that encourages students to look beyond conventional legal concepts. Says Prof. Mahendra Pal Singh, vice-chancellor, “At NUJS, we endeavour to teach students the value of social justice so that they can help the weaker sections of society.”

Courses galore

NUJS offers undergraduate courses and the integrated BA/BSc LLB (honours) degree. LLM courses, MPhil and doctoral courses are also on offer. The basic requirement for admission is a higher secondary qualification and passing their National Admission Test.

“Studying law is of great importance in the modern context since globalisation has helped the contract-based economy grow at a rapid rate,” says Nandan Nawn, lecturer in economics and commerce at the School of Social Sciences in NUJS. Nawn says that NUJS inculcates knowledge of vital subjects like intellectual property rights and corporate law, amongst others.

Human rights is the other important area covered by NUJS. The Centre for Human Rights and Citizenship Studies concentrates on the various ramifications of national and international law pertaining to human rights. Kanu Priya, a third-year LLB student says, “The NUJS course on human rights is challenging and allows me to explore the different nuances of the legal issues involved,” she says. “International law is given due importance at NUJS and since issues such as intellectual property rights and conflict are so much in the news now, the course is extremely valuable for us.”

Books abound

The NUJS library is well stocked with over 10,000 books and 5,000 periodicals. “We subscribe to 124 journals,” reveals Nawn. One of the outstanding features at NUJS is the moot court competitions held to impart practical experience to students. “A moot court consists of students being presented with a hypothetical problem that they need to tackle by using legal arguments,” says Nawn. And, NUJS students have always excelled at the moot court competitions held at the national and the international level. For example, in 2005 the university moot team won the Willem C. Vis (East), International Commercial Arbitration Moot at Hong Kong.

Known far & wide

Students come to study at NUJS from all over the country. Take, for instance, Moksha Bhat, vice-president of the Student Juridical Association, who is from Delhi. “I feel one can make a great career in law as fields like engineering are becoming saturated,” he says. He beams with pride that NUJS alumni have gone on to have very successful careers in reputed law firms like Amarchand Mangaldas, Luthra and Luthra, etc.

A number of NUJS students go abroad for higher studies and many have had their papers published in renowned journals like the Harvard Environmental Law Review and the Oxford Sports Law Journal.

Says Prof. Singh, “We still have a long way to go but the fact that all our students get good placements by the fifth year illustrates that we are getting ahead,” he states.

Shubhobroto Ghosh

Old memories 

Coming from a business family, I had a keen interest in business litigation and decided to study law. NUJS provided me with tremendous exposure that broadened my horizons on legal matters. One of the most remarkable aspects of studying at NUJS was getting to attend the guest lectures delivered by distinguished professionals.

The faculty was good. Also, NUJS challenges the notion that lawyers are unscrupulous people who are out to fleece clients. Extra-curricular activities were emphasised. In fact, NUJS students have consistently come out tops at various debate competitions. I was always encouraged to think and enquire during my time at this institution. For me, it was a privilege to study in one of the most distinguished law schools in the country.

As told to Shubhobroto Ghosh