Justice Education: A Desired Destination of The Menon Model

AuthorDebasis Poddar
Date01 January 2020
Publication Date01 January 2020
Justice Education: A Desired
Destination of The Menon Model
Debasis Poddar1
Since inception of the new-generation experiment in legal education with the National Law School of
India University Bangalore (NLSIU), contemporary history of professional education rolls on toward
excellence and the ordeal is on with the proliferation of similar institutional entrepreneurship. In the
anxiety of competitive edge, few—too few—follow legacy of a model school in Bangalore; invented
by N.R. Madhava Menon: the legacy vis-a-vis experiments with discipline, leadership, pedagogy, and
the like. Minute prospect and consequence of (t)his model apart, Menon redefined the philosophy
of professional education at NLSIU. What went spread over far and wide as trendsetter for the
contemporary legal education is the letters of institutionalism, more so for ‘National’. Spirit of the
NLSIU legacy but lies elsewhere.
A practising lawyer-turned-educator, Madhava Menon has introduced a model to prepare well-baked
product for the bench and the bar alike. At the same time, however, he brought in sense of social
responsibility otherwise getting dwindled in the contemporary professional lifeworld. Not without
reason that there is emphasis upon clinical legal education and legal aid clinic alike. In its essence, the
author advances arguendo with the reasoning of his own, that pedagogy thereby initiated has had a
teleological end to offer legal education en route to justice education; thereby spearhead progressive
social transformation. The Menon Model is meant to raise human resource for professional service to
the court and the people; instead of tertiary service to the market. After his model, the market ought
to approach qualified professionals; not vice versa. The sooner such internal legacy of the (Menon)
model earns appreciation is the better for prospect of professional education.
Understanding the model introduced by Menon requires understanding in the history of legal education of
his time and space. Born in 1935 at the then city of Trivandrum (now, Thiruvananthapuram) in coastal
Kerala, Menon obtained his law degree in 1955; from Government Law College there. Thereafter, he
preferred law practice until he shifted to New Delhi for civil services there. At last, he served legal
academics for 3 decades (1968–1997); almost a decade even thereafter: in the West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences Kolkata (WBNUJS) and in National Judicial Academy Bhopal (NJA)
Asian Journal of Legal Education
7(1) 35–45, 2020
© 2019 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/2322005819893280
1 St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata, India.
Corresponding author:
Debasis Poddar, St. Xavier’s University, Action Area III, B, Newtown, Kolkata, West Bengal 700160, India.
E-mail: debasis.bengal@gmail.com

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