Book review: Socio-Legal Research: Theory and Methodology, P.P. Mitra

AuthorNaveen Sharma
Published date01 January 2023
Date01 January 2023
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews
Socio-Legal Research: Theory and Methodology, P.P. Mitra, Thomson Reuters South Asia Private Limited,
India, 2021 pp. xxiv + 181. Price `400, ISBN 978-819-47-7232-3.
In India, the rst institutional research study was started by Sir William Jones, with the establishment of
Asiatic Society at Kolkata in 1784.1 The initial impetus behind the establishment of institutional research
was to ‘discover’ and ‘research’ in the varied elds, though primary emphasis was given to natural
sciences.2 Nevertheless, there has been limited efforts made for encouraging legal research. The earliest
initiative was the Tagore Law Lectures, which were effective from 1868, with an object to further legal
research. The effort culminated in a series of lectures, delivered annually by an eminent person on a
subject ‘of the kind of law which is to be taught’ in the universities.3 This lecture series has brought forth
some excellent legal research and had attracted the best of legal talent in India and England.4
Post-independence, initiatives were taken to develop and advance the scientific research with an
objective to immensely help the nation in increasing the economic growth.5 The relevance of research in
social sciences was given limited attention. However, certain path-breaking projects were given a
go-ahead, which led to the establishment of governmental, semi-governmental and autonomous legal
research forums and institutions for research and related purposes.6 The idea was to encourage the
relevance of research institutions that can generate research culture in the country.7
Even with all the efforts made, the state of ‘standards’ and ‘quality’ of research, especially in social
sciences, remain discouraging. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021 found
none of the Indian universities offering social sciences to feature in the top 200.8 This does not mean
there have been no efforts to improve the condition; in fact, Indian universities and regulatory bodies are
1 There afterwards, several other institutions were established, including the Geological Survey of India (1851), the Archaeological
Survey of India (1861), the Botanical Survey of India (1890), Indian Research Fund Association (1911), Zoological Survey of
India (1916), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (1929), Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (1942), etc.
3 See Rajkumari Agrawala, Indian Legal Research: An Evolutionary and Perspective Analysis, 24(2&3) JOURNAL OF INDIAN
LAW INSTITUTE, 497 (1982).
4 Tagore Law Lectures Endowment has been adorned by lawyers and judges, including William Holdsworth, Frederic Pollock,
Westel Willoughby, Rashbehary Ghose, Gooru Das Banerjee, D. K. Mitter, H. Cowell, G. C. Rankin, Rattigan, Sen, Jolly, R. K.
Mukherjea, P. B. Gajendragadkar, Radhabinod Pal and Durga Das Basu. Ibid.
5 Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (1954), Indian Space Research Organisation (1969) etc.
6 The Law Commission of India (1955), University Grants Commission (1956), The Indian Law Institute (1956), The Indian
Society of International Law (1959), The Indian Institute of Constitutional and Parliamentary Studies (1965), Indian Council of
Social Science Research (1969), etc.
7 Rajeev Dhavan, Legal Research in India: The Role of Indian Law Institute, 27(2) JOURNAL OF THE INDIAN LAW INSTITUTE
223–248 (1985). See also Prakash Sharma, A Review of Journal of Indian Law Institute in Legal Education, 4(1) ASIAN JOURNAL
OF LEGAL EDUCATION 61–70 (2017).
8 The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021 include more than 1,500 universities across 93 countries, see The
World University Ranking 2021, available at
ranking#!/page/0/length/25/sort_by/rank/sort_order/asc/cols/stats (accessed 15 August 2021).
Asian Journal of Legal Education
10(1) 111–117, 2023
© 2022 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/23220058221132599

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