Gujarat National Law University
{Accredited with 'A' Grade by NAAC}...Leader in Legal Education, Research and Professional Training
Director(Vice-Chancellor) Speeches & Important Messages

"Banks, PSUs, Law Firms and SEBI experts converge at GNLU to discuss Economic and Financial Issues and the Indian Legal Industry", The Road Ahead on 5th September, 2010.

The purpose of this seminar is to explain and understand the essential intrinsic dynamic relationship between the so-called economic and financial issues on one hand and so-called legal issues on the other hand. So-called, no issue and I emphasise no issue in today’s world can be seen as a pure technically “single” discipline issue. Dolly, a clone sheep, was born on 5 July 1996 and so born our debates on laws of genetics, an American young man Jordan Romero climbs the Everest at the age of 13 years and debate starts whether it is not illegal for such an age to allow to climb Everest, as many in Nepal believe…what I mean to say, is the issues which are in the first instance appears to be typically only scientific or adventurous, there are either strong legal underpinnings and if not already existing, an event takes place and debates on applicable laws follows. In this sense, one can say, law follows development instead of the other way around. This analogue is drawn for two reasons; there are various areas in which GNLU is taking a lead, forecasting the future developments and need for sound legal infrastructure, in other words, vision of law, but there are many developments in which we became followers of developments, in other words, law follow events, today’s seminar is later type of example.
The debate was required much earlier but till the foreign law firm bill started to become a reality, till the real impacts on SEBI’s take over code started on merger and acquisitions, we allowed ourselves to wait.
Hon justice Pasayat, honorable judges of the Gujarat High Court and other members of judiciary, representatives of government departments and PSUs, managing partners or partners of law firms, representatives of banks private and public alike, members of Bar, invited guests, faculty and staff members and GNLU ambassadors of Law and Justice, our students.
Global economic and financial issues are playing an important role in changing the entire polity and society. At present, the whole world is attaching mammoth significance to ‘knowledge economy’. Universities — the center of highest foundation for teaching, learning, and research — have a very special function to perform, a noble a duty to discharge in this regard. Universities, across the world, are preparing themselves to face the challenges of globalization in the changing nature that is internationalization of education. Since law is an organic subject which changes with changing needs of the society, therefore, the legal education, research and training should also mould and develop itself in order to meet the ever growing demands of the economic and financial institutions. It should be equipped comprehensively and systematically equipped to cater to the complexities of different as well as changing scenarios and situations in these areas. Hence, law has a significant role to play at this juncture in the era of globalization – an era in which each nation is trying to control knowledge and adapt to new situations more than others, in order to command so that they command access to resources and power. An availability of a sound robust legal institution and judicial infrastructure is a must for India to keep pace with the momentum which is preparing a brave new beautiful world and our little contribution in form of this seminar.
GNLU concept of and commitment for sound legal infrastructure reflects in each and every idea and activity we undertake. Let me walk with you, some of our most important initatives – first and foremost, the fundamental approach to our education is preparing students to become integrated legal advisors and counsel, so that they can visualize, think, act, execute in an integrated manner for firms, for governments, for banks, for PSUs, for judiciary, second, foreign law, by introducing foreign law course in our final year, GNLU students gain basic of legal and judicial system of various countries, such as, USA, France, Mauritius, Spain, Italy, Malaysia among others, thirdly, exposure to functioning of the judicial system – it is a matter of great proud and honour to inform this gathering that GNLU has not only prepared a blue print to reduce the backlog of cases but a batch of 40 students, 20 each, help the Honorable Chief Justice of Gujarat and Principal District Judge Gandhinagar, in their commitment to reduce the backlog of cases, ON A DAILY BASIS AFTER UNIVERSITY TEACHING IS OVER, we aim to help more offices of the High Court and Government Departments as our contribution to the judiciary….why it matters and why we are truly concerned, because for example, as per the World Bank, the backlog of cases itself contributes to the reduction of economic growth, hence, minute as may be seen our contribution, the impacts could be discernible in long run….fellow bankers, PSU representatives, law firm representatives, GNLU is acting as a coordinating nodal agency to enhance the standards of legal education, research, training and extension for all 32 law colleges of state and I am quite sure, this initative will pay the state economy in long run by producing lawyers who are well-versed with “comprehensive uniform curriculum and rigorous evaluation standards”…I may not be exaggerating to believe that private banks in their search for rural outreach or retail services will be helped by these lawyers who may not have studied at the GNLU but definitely have been exposed to high legal education and research standards…a day may not be that far when Posco or Vedanta looking for bauxite mining in Gujarat can be helped by these lawyers who will hopefully have knowledge of legality of economics, environment, dispute settlement.
Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs): There is a good news for legal industry as the Department of Disinvestment initiates the process of appointing merchant bankers and legal advisers for managing an issue for to-be-disinvested PSUs. Issues of price policy of PSUs, optimum utilization of capacity, proper planning and construction project, implementation of sound transitory labour, personnel and management policies and issue of autonomy which are at the heart of any disinvestment need, not only financial, technical or human resource solution, it requires that all solutions are “within the legal framework”. What should be the ideal nature of ownership and the consequent incentives? Why to sell PSUs to private strategic investors? What should be the idea policy framework for the entire disinvestment process and how the separate disinvestment fund should be controlled? To what extent can the government allow financing its fiscal deficit instead of retiring past high-cost loans or invest in creating physical or social infrastructure, and such are the questions which need integrated pondering, from economic, financial and legal point of views. If we will not deal these issues in a comprehensive manner, then a remark that the funds which government use from disinvestment will continue to be used for its expenditures like an alcoholic selling his wife’s jewellery to sustain his drinking habits, with disastrous consequences for the family, will continue to apply.
Private banking in India is still at a young stage and can learn a lot or overcome the problems which were encountered by developed economies. Private Banking in India faces a challenge of answering many questions, client sophistication and product innovation strategies, raising capital and fund distribution best practices, asset class showcase: traditional investments, developing and implementing best practice strategies for private banking, investing in human resources to drive strategic growth, Non-Resident Indians and family offices, passing on the wealth and philanthropy, including various legal and tax structures for philanthropy. These questions which define the contours of current and future of private banking in globalised economy and India need time-tested as well as innovative business, financial and legal solutions and framework.
As far as entry of foreign law firms is concerned, there are extreme views and I am not going to take away the burning fire from our speakers to speak for or against, but one thing is certain, we must find viable options for liberalization.
GNLU, which has introduced comprehensive curriculum and offer several optional courses in emerging advanced areas of law, teach and train students in the whole range of investment, banking, arbitration and dispute settlement, taxation, corporate laws, negotiation, and subject areas such as energy, banking, sports, agro-economy, elections, space, maritime, among others. They get mediation training, trained to draft bills for government, contracts, agreements, first-hand experience in reducing the backlog of cases, foreign languages. Thus, teaching and training make them a true integrated legal adviser ready to face the challenges of legal profession with high standards of knowledge, efficiency and integrity. When I say about integrity, I am reminded by what AMSS have to say about GNLU students, that is, your students, besides knowledge and competence, have high standards of ethics, values and commitment which is what we need in today’s world. I take this opportunity to express deep gratitude to GNLU faculty including visiting faculty who make best attempts in teaching and training and ensure that we all are result-oriented. Before end of this month, GNLU will hold training workshop for five days with the Parliament Bureau of Studies and Training for Legislative Drafting wherein senior officials from Maharastra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa would be imparted training by honorable sitting and retired members of judiciary, members of the Lok Sabha Secretariat, Department of Law or Legislative Affairs of Government of India, Government of Gujarat, scholars, academicians, members of Law Commission among others. This workshop will assist legislative draftsmen in drafting private Members’ and government bills, provide training in various techniques and know-how of the legislative drafting, enhance knowledge of processes and procedures of legislative drafting, share information and exchange ideas on procedures of legislative drafting in Indian states and discuss ways and means to overcome the challenges, especially through exploring public-private partnership mechanisms; and identify areas requiring new bills in light of recently concluded sessions of the Parliament and Legislative Assemblies. One can only imagine how this could be possible, but we say thanks to the members of judiciary, executive and legislature who are there always to guide and support us, offer critical and constructive comments. Whenever we require assistance of judges from the High Court, right from the Office of the Chief Justice, we get effective support. Sometimes I wonder, is GNLU a corporate office or university, I would say it is a University with Corporate Culture and Academic Soul.
I, once again, welcome you to these current premises of the GNLU and look forward receiving you all in bigger and better manner, once we move to our state-of-art new campus with eco-friendly, modern facilities.
How can GNLU resources can help you, how can you make us a role-model university and how can we ensure public-private partnership in our collective goals will be our search in years to come. Therefore, please consider this visit to the GNLU as first of your many visits, either on a regular and need basis, to become partners in our mutual endeavours to provide a sound legal infrastructure needed for the India of the 21st century.
Thank you.
Bimal N. Patel,