Director Bimal Patel address on the occasion of the First GNLU Convocation reporting the GNLU progress, Sunday, 28 March 2010
It gives me great pleasure in welcoming Honorable Chief Justice of India and GNLU Visitor, Mr Justice Balakrishnan, Honorable Chief Minister of State of Gujarat, Mr Narendra Modi, Honorable Mr Justice A.M. Ebrahim, former Judge, Supreme Court of Zimbabwe, Honorable Mr Justice S. Mukhopadhaya, Chief Justice of High Court of Gujarat, Honorable Mr Justice K.S. Radharkishnan, Judge, Supreme Court of India, Honorable Mr Justice A. R. Dave, Chief Justice, Bombay High Court, Honorable Mr Justice M.S. Shah, Calcutta High Court, Honorable Minister Mr Amit Shah, Law Minister, Government of Gujarat, Honorable Ministers of Government of Gujarat, Honorable Additional Solicitor General of India, Honorable Judges of the High Court of Gujarat and Members of the entire Judiciary, Members of the governing bodies of the GNLU, Vice-Chancellors and Heads of the Universities and Institutions, Principals of Law Colleges of Gujarat, representatives of Media and Press, faculty, staff members and students of GNLU and most importantly first batch of GNLU graduates, our Ambassadors of Law and Justice and their family members and all distinguished guests,
I am pleased to present an annual report of the Gujarat National Law University. At the outset, on behalf of the GNLU and on my own behalf, I would like to express my deep gratitude to the vision and guidance of Hon’ble Mr Justice K. G. Balakrishnan, Chief Justice of India and the GNLU Visitor, Hon’ble Mr. Justice R. C. Lahoti, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Y. K. Sabharwal, Former Chief Justices of India and Visitors of the GNLU and Honorable Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr Narendra Modi, for the guidance and support of Mr Ashok Bhatt, currently Honorable Speaker of Gujarat Legislative Assembly, then Law Minister, Founder Chairman late Mr Kirit Raval, Madam Justice Bela Trivedi, former Law Secretary, Founder Director Professor V. S. Mani and all who have supported the GNLU since its inception. In a span of the last five years, GNLU has progressed steadily and surely in education, research, training and extension activities. We dare to dream and work to make GNLU a world class law university, what I mean is our vision, approach, attitude and efforts all are aimed at consciously and unconsciously in this direction only. It is my humble effort to share with you, how far GNLU has come up and what its future successive plans are. The erudite and talented faculty that values scholarship and research, and motivated staff and committed students are two essential ingredients for this march towards our stated objective. GNLU, in a true sense, represents national and international character as we have faculty and students from 23 states across India. Moreover, expert visiting faculties and productive literature resources of international repute make GNLU stands higher. The University has sought these two painstakingly and from all directions. As we seek to establish ourselves in the academic and scholarly community, we have tried to reach out to our peers all over the world for co-operation in research and education. We hope to extend this reach in the years ahead.
GNLU aims to advance and disseminate learning and knowledge of law and legal processes and their role in national development. To achieve the above mentioned objective we adopted a five years Medium Term Plan 2014 in December 2008. To begin with, we thank the University Grants Commission and the Bar Council of India for their recognition of our education endeavors.
GNLU reviewed the recommendations made by the National Knowledge Commission Working Group on Legal Education, amended Bar Council of India Rules (2008) and curriculum offered by several national law universities in India and abroad and introduced a comprehensive curriculum from academic year 2009-2010. GNLU has commenced or planning to start various new courses such as air and space law, sports, biotechnology laws, and is still planning to start maritime laws, election law, disability laws, information technology law, natural resources and energy law. To distinctly serve stakeholders which contribute and hold great potential to make India a developed Nation by 2020, we have initiated or rather say, have already established centres of excellence in the field of private international law, public international law, sports law, food security and agro-economy, corporate, banking and investments, environmental law and climate change and foreign policy and security studies.
With a view to identify, recognize and promote academic talents and scholarships and to contribute to mitigating the crunch of academicians, GNLU has initiated LLM, PhD program as well as internal and distance education programs in labour law, family law, sports law, commercial law, food-security and agro-economy and alternative dispute resolution. These distance education programs will enable practitioners, especially, in their search for the continuous enhancement of legal knowledge.
In the area of research and publication, GNLU published two issues of its premier flagship journal – The GNLU Law Review and published the first issue of GNLU Journal of Law, Development and Politics (GJLDP) – an interdisciplinary journal keeping in line with our determination to have interdisciplinary approach. We have also initiated publication of GNLU Journal on Developing World Review on Trade and Competition (DWRTC), a first of its kind journal among developing nations of the world. This journal will critically review and evaluate major trends and offer perspectives to world trade policy makers and institutions in their search to make world trade a true mechanism for growth and development of all nations. I am pleased to report that not only faculty but our student and that too, who were yet to graduate, are making marks in scholarship – Ms Aditi Agarwal and Mr Akhil Prasad, published a comprehensive reference book, entitled, Copyright Law Desk Book – Knowledge, Access and Development.
Capacity building of law colleges – a holistic approach to education:
GNLU’s search for contributing to the enhancement of standards of legal education is confined not only to its campus but throughout the state. We would like to spearhead this mission throughout the nation and the world at large. As a result of intensive efforts and extensive consultations with stakeholders, judiciary, practitioners, academicians, scholars, bar council, state universities, GNLU has been playing a nodal role which is culminating into a state-wide uniform curriculum and syllabus, evaluation system, faculty training, better infrastructure, literature resources, moot competition and perhaps most importantly an admission test for those who are seeking admission into three year LLB degree program. GNLU hopes that this comprehensive approach will significantly contribute to enhance the system of legal education in the state. I take this opportunity to thank all stakeholders for their support and guidance.
Knowledge creation, dissemination and implementation mark our commitment. GNLU is finalizing a plan to hold legislative drafting training programme. In the area of dissemination of law for the law-enforcement agencies, GNLU has started a sponsored training programme of the Home Ministry of the Government of India, in collaboration with the Police Academy of Gujarat, which will provide training to 900 police personnel on the latest rulings on criminal law and a special training programme on human rights in prison management for Inspector General Police level officers. This program will last minimum for two years. We thank the Police Academy, law practitioners, academicians, members of judiciary and police personnel themselves for actively contributing to the effectiveness of this training programme. To disseminate the knowledge and to reach out to the mass to raise higher awareness of law and legal processes, GNLU initiated Media and Law Training Programme in 2009. The first edition took place in September 2009 and second will take place this September. We thank the media and press personnel for their active participation as well as guidance and support in devising the modules which we believe will help us all. GNLU invited senior officials of various departments and various PSUs to raise awareness of their latest projects, policy initiatives and prospects and Judges of the Supreme Court and High Court for delivering lectures on the topics of contemporary interests.
GNLU, a first university in the country, has been working on a project to assist the judiciary and the government to reduce the backlog of cases. We will be presenting a blue print, research report prepared by the faculty members, to the Hon Chief Justice of India, Hon Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court and the Hon Chief Minister of Gujarat. Legal Service Committee of the GNLU actively organized various programmes for the awareness about law and legal system in India for general public and kept providing free counseling and assistance to the general people. A special fund has been allocated to help needy masses in their search for justice.
Cooperation with academic institutions and foreign law course:
GNLU aims to give highly skilful and multitalented professionals to the nation, for which we concentrate more on interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary studies. Recognising the limited resources and yet to contribute to creation and dissemination of knowledge, GNLU has initiated joint post-graduate diploma courses with Gujarat Forensic Science University in Criminology and Forensic Management and efforts are underway to start a course on Energy Law with the Pandit deen dayal Petroleum University.
Basic knowledge of legal and judicial system of foreign jurisdictions, especially, developed and emerging economies is must for any law graduate in the era of globalization, privatization and liberalization. In this regard, we have initiated Foreign Law Courses taught by Visiting Professors from several jurisdictions. During the period under review, professors from Israel, Italy, Malaysia and Spain taught at the GNLU, while we are getting confirmation from professors from China, Singapore, USA, UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Japan, Republic of Korea and Mauritius for the coming year. This enables GNLU students to engage in academic dialogue as well as explore avenues of faculty and student exchange and contributing to consolidation of bilateral relations between India and these nations. Our student exchange programme will shortly commence with Spain and Malaysia. I am pleased to inform that one of our students, Ms Debdatta Dobe, has been selected with full scholarship to participate in world’s most prestigious international law programme – Hague Academy of International Law for 2010 in the Netherlands.
Students’ participation in moot court competitions, conferences and seminars:
During the period under review, GNLU students drew benefits from participating in subsidized language courses in Chinese, French and Spanish, undertook internships at various courts and organization of national and international level. GNLU students have actively participated and brought laurels in various national and international moot competitions such as Henry Dunant Moot Court Competition, Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition, W.T.O Moot Court Competition., Geneva, William C. Vis Moot Court Competition, Vienna, Second Law Asia International Moot Court Competition, Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Philip C. Jessup Moot Court Competition, Washington DC, Manfred Lachs Moot Court Competition, Australia, International Maritime Law Arbitration Moots, Australia and at national level, Surana & Surana International Technology Moot Court Competition, M. M. Singhvi Memorial Moot Court Competition, UILS National Sarin Moot Court Competition, G. H. Raisoni Law School Moot Court Competition, ILS Pune, Amity Law School. Students have also actively participated and presented papers in national and international conferences, debates and seminars. GNLU is providing assistance to the students for participating in moot-court competition, conferences, international internship and students exchange programmes. I am thankful to the Finance Committee and the Executive Council for their proactive and enthusiastic endorsement of various financial assistance proposals to boost our efforts in this regard.
Through collective efforts of the GNLU, the Committee on Recruitment Affairs, and student themselves, we have learnt that the entire first batch of 2004 has found placement in various sectors ranging from the Supreme Court, High Court, law firms, Senior Advocates, Public Sector Undertakings, government departments at national and state level, companies, banks, Non-Governmental Organisations. We are working in a determined manner to achieve the same for 2005 batch which will graduate in few months from now. We thank all recruiters for their support. I thank members of Committee on Recruitment Affairs of 2004 and 2005 batch for their dedication and professional volunteer services.
In the area of management, GNLU has introduced the result-based budgeting which permits us to see the expected results of the University and required resources for its achievements. This provides the requirement of human resource, infrastructure or other essentials. GNLU is the first university to adopt Performance Management and Appraisal System (PMAS) where it evaluates the performance of its faculty and staff members and gives an award for the best performers. GNLU successfully implemented the System and all employees made their presentation of achievements for 2009-2010. The PMAS aims to obtain 3600 feedback from peers and students, help GNLU authorities to recognize best performers, assist those who need counseling and coaching. To promote and reward excellence in academic and administrative activities, GNLU announced best faculty and best Administrative Staff award.
GNLU faculty and staff members participated in 26 training programmes, seminars, conferences, and workshop. Thirty-one visiting faculty delivered lectures on contemporary and advance topics of law. To enhance the utilization of ICT facilities and reduce use of papers, it provided zero percent interest loan to the faculty members to purchase laptops for better teaching learning prospects and all departments are connected with the wi-fi and computers. During the period under review, internal Committee constituted by Faculty Members, Administrative Staff and Student Members continued to work for the realization of GNLU vision.
GNLU has made good progress in the construction work of the new campus and first phase of the new campus will be ready by the end of April 2010. GNLU is striving to introduce 2011-2012 students at the new campus. Speedy progress of the new campus has made possible due to commitment, excellent support and coordination between the GNLU, Gujarat High Court and Government of Gujarat, GPA (Chief Architect) and Cube Construction Company Limited (Campus Developer). GNLU library acquisition exceeds more than 31,000 books, volumes, many of them rare and priceless collections of international and foreign laws. Almost all subjects have at least some latest publications of year 2008 and 2009. GNLU has established GNLU Alumni Association and its first meeting with take place today evening. We have high hopes from the alumni and believe that it will help us support student scholarships, faculty research and programmes, to provide solid base for support and networking and connections. Currently, we have 38 full-time faculty and 45 administrative staff members.
Summing up, GNLU has achieved tremendous progress in education, research, training and extension activities. Moreover, various initiatives of the University are applauded by the members of judiciary, executive, legislature, law firms, corporate houses, chamber of commerce, banks, think-tanks, individuals, partner national law universities, law colleges, other universities, past and current students and their family members. I place on record my deep appreciation to the Hon Chief Justice of High Court of Gujarat, the entire bench, the Registrar General, Hon. Law Minister, Hon. Law Secretary, Mr. M. H. Shah, and the entire team of the Law Department, officials of various departments of the Government of Gujarat for their continuous support. My most humble gratitude to the members of the statutory bodies of the GNLU and a sense of pride and gratefulness to each and every faculty and staff member, our students, our catering, housekeeping, transportation and security service providers and each and everyone who is directly or indirectly contributing to the progress of the GNLU. At last, I offer my very warm congratulations, once again to our first batch of graduates – GNLU ambassadors of law and justice.
Respected Visitor Sir, may I now have the honour to request you to declare the Convocation open.
Bimal N. Patel