Promises and Prospects of Legal Education in India in the Context of the New Education Policy: A Reality Check

AuthorTushar Krishna,Sanjit Kumar Chakraborty
Published date01 January 2022
Date01 January 2022
Subject MatterArticles
Promises and Prospects of
Legal Education in India in the
Context of the New Education
Policy: A Reality Check
Sanjit Kumar Chakraborty1 and Tushar Krishna1
Legal education serves as a means of social regulation and a tool for social transformation.
In 2020,
the Indian government released India’s third educational policy, considered the most ambitious
educational policy ever. However, legal scholars fostered several misgivings about the efficacy of the
drafted policy in addressing underlying shortcomings in legal education in India. Serious concerns
have been raised, especially in light of the nation’s recent loss of prospects in the global economy
that could have been achieved otherwise. As a result, addressing the debate that arose due to the
NEP’s introduction and its impact upon legal education, which is still subjugated by multiple regulatory
frameworks, has become critical. Against this background, the present research explores legal
education and its history to better grasp the problems at hand. Following that, the article attempts
to analyse the quotidian adversities faced by the institutions and regulators in meeting the demands of
the new world order. While doing so, this article takes a critical approach to identify the concerns
and inhibitions that exist under the draft policy and remains unresolved by the NEP in view of aimed
‘radical reconstruction of education’. Finally, the authors conclude the article with findings and
Introduction and Research Background
We need to educate and retrain the best lawyers to get the nation to the zenith of greatest
administration of justice.
Law, legal education, and welfare have become intertwined notions in contemporary developing societies
as they strive to evolve a welfare state and facilitate people’s socio-economic prospects through
constructive ways. As a means for social engineering, legal education acts as a tool for social design.2
2 Akilali A. Saiyed, Scenario of Legal Education in India (Chapter IV), in Public Private PartnershiP and legal education : a
critique of Policies and Practices in india, With sPecial reference to state of gujarat, available at http://shodhganga. (last visited on 20 September 2021).
Asian Journal of Legal Education
9(1) 64–85, 2022
© 2021 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/23220058211065983
Corresponding author:
Sanjit Kumar Chakraborty, Assistant Professor of Law, The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences
(NUJS), 12 LB Block, Sector-III, Salt Lake City, Kolkata, West Bengal 700098, India.
1 The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
Chakraborty and Krishna 65
Legal education has always been characterized to be both professional and intellectual education. As
a professional education, it equips law students to practice law, and as a liberal education, it instils
cultural virtues in students, resulting in law-abiding citizens.3 It also accomplishes the academic purpose
of engendering jurists and legal scholars.4 Legal education is an apparatus for social design, considering
the law as an instrument for constructing a socially egalitarian society.5 Education is a well-established
aspect of the right to life and personal liberty guaranteed by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which
should be perused vision of the Constitution’s directive principles.6 Consequently, Article 39A, which
guarantees equal justice and legal aid, is inextricably tied to legal education.7 When appraised from a
‘constitutional standpoint’, legal education garners even more pertinence as it is indispensable to the
judicial system.8
The significance of legal education must be appreciated because of its decisive role in shaping and
envisioning the country’s legal system, and therefore in accomplishing the set goals of justice, liberty,
equality, and fraternity in a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic. So, it can be recognized as
pivotal for a society based on the rule of law principles and serves the public interest.9 According to
Blackstone, legal education strives to disseminate country knowledge as a component of the needed
culture of a gentleman, nobleman, or commoner engaged in a learned profession.10 It is required to have
educated, law-abiding individuals instilled with a sense of human rights and ideals, a fundamental
precondition for social change.11 In addition to the issues related to life, technology, governance, and
accountability in complex family relations, business institutions, and the penal system, legal education
must propagate humane intellectual attributes to take client-centred methodologies.12
Legal education entails guring out how to explain ourselves in the absence of a legal system, as well as how
it operates and affects society. It pertains to professional knowledge that is always evolving concerning human
situations and is fueled by future visions.13
As a result, legal education should be undertaken at law schools on a scientic foundation, which will be
of tremendous use to the country, and positively impact the practice of law as an art. To be more precise,
it is an investment that, if undertaken intelligently, will undoubtedly provide the best yields for the nation
and expedite the rate of national growth.14
Given the immense significance of legal education, it is imperative to analyse the same historical
background as in Part II of this article. After that, the authors have delved into the impact of globalization
in legal education in Part III. Subsequently, the authors have laid down the Supreme Court’s deportment
regarding legal education in India, followed by identifying challenges in the legal education system in
3 M.P. jain, outlines of indian legal and constitutional history 691 (2010).
4 N.L. Rajah, Where are our legal philosophers? the hindu oPinion, 24 November 2016, available at
opinion/op-ed/Where-are-our-legal-philosophers/article16689360.ece/ (last visited on 30 June 2021).
5 P.l. Mehta, & sushMa guPta, legal education and Profession in india (2000).
6 J.P. Unnikrishnan v. State of A.P, 1993 (1) SCC 645.
7 The Constitution of India, 1950, Art. 39A.
8 Law Commission of India, 184th Report on The Legal Education & Professional Training and Proposals for Amendments to the
Advocates Act, 1961 and the University Grants Commission Act, 1956 (2002).
9 Deepak Sibal v. Punjab University, AIR 1989 SC 903.
10 Dr Justice A.S. Anand, H.L. Sarin Memorial Lecture: Legal Education in India—Past, Present and Future, EBC (2018).
11 S. Sethiya, Legal Education: A Need for Streamlining, 1 AIR (Journal) 1 (2008).
12 s.K. agraWal, a rePort on legal education in india ProbleMs and ProsPective (1972).
13 Brendon F. Brown, Recent trends in United States Legal Education, 26(3) journal of legal education, 283–293 (1976).
P.C. Pillai, All India seminar on Legal Education, 14 journal of indian laW institute, 75 (1972).

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