Justice NV Ramana.

Justice Ramana bemoans the state of legal education; says sub-standard colleges in the country a very worrying trend

THE education system is currently not equipped to build the character of our students to develop social consciousness and responsibility, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court Justice NV Ramana said on Sunday.

Justice Ramana, who is scheduled to take over as the Chief Justice of India, later this month was speaking at the convocation of Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University (DSNLU) in Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

He said students are often caught in the “rat race”. “All of us should, therefore, make a collective effort to revamp the educational system to ensure that students can have the right outlook to their career and life outside.

Referring to the huge number of law colleges, Justice Ramana said it was often the case of “quality, over quantity”. “What proportion of graduates who are fresh out of college are actually ready or prepared for the profession? I would think less than 25 percent,” he said.

“There are many sub-standard colleges in the country, which is a very worrying trend. The judiciary has taken note of this and is attempting to correct the same,” Justice Ramana said.

He, however, clarified that this was no way a comment on the graduates themselves, who certainly possessed the required attributes to be successful lawyers.

Remarking on what he called the “exploding” pendency of cases in the courts, Justice Ramana said the poor quality of legal education in the country was partly to blame for it.

He said lawyers should give proper advice to their clients on how to pursue their legal claims without abusing the process. They must keep in mind not only their duty to their clients but also their duty to the courts and society.

Justice Ramana said that to uphold justice in all its facets – an activity that lawyers and judges grapple with every day – one must be aware of the challenges and problems with society and of contemporary times.

“A theoretical understanding of the law is an incomplete understanding of it, as any new graduate who enters the profession understands soon after starting their practice. It is this divide between theory and practice that the best type of legal education attempts to bridge,” Justice Ramana said.