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February 25, 2023 07:58 pm | Updated 08:07 pm IST – HYDERABAD
Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, delivering the Convocation Address at the 19th annual convocation of NALSAR University of Law in Hyderabad on Saturday. | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL
Incidents of suicide by students from marginalised communities are becoming common, these numbers are not just a statistic they are stories sometimes of centuries of struggle, said Chief Justice of India Justice DY Chandrachud
Delivering the convocation address at the 19th Annual Convocation of NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad on Saturday, the CJI said: “We must also realize different students face different challenges. Only recently I read about the suicide by a Dalit student in IIT Bombay, it reminded me of a suicide by an Adivasi student at National Law University, Odisha last year. Our institutions must not limit themselves to promoting competition among students but also shape their outlook towards life where empathy is a crucial component.”
“Lack of empathy in educational institutions has adverse effects on students. Nurturing empathy can end the culture of eliteness and exclusion. This can be done by starting with small steps,” he pointed out. “The things which much stop in educational institutions are, allotment of hostels based on entrance marks which leads to caste-based segregation, putting out a public list of marks along with social categories, asking for the marks of Dalit and Adivasi students publicly to humiliate them, making a mockery of their English and physical appearances, not acting on instances of abuse, reducing or stopping their fellowships and normalising stereotypes through jokes,” Justice Chandrachud added.
Elaborating on the concept of National Law Universities, the Chief Justice of India said that the experiment with NLUs was to create accessible institutions focussed in quality education and not to create elite institutions. However, NLUs have been struggling to be accessible to a wide section of society, concerns are being raised about the entrance exam pattern of NLU which acts as a barrier for students not well acquainted with English. Along with this, the financial barriers are also serious, the law universities and governments need to work together to ensure financial accessibility. NLUs should be the leaders in the field of legal education which could help other small colleges grow academically, Justice Chandrachud said.
The Chief Justice of India spoke about the launch of the e-version of Supreme Court Records which allows everyone to freely access about 34,000 reportable judgements of the Supreme Court from 1950 till 2023. While speaking about diversity and inclusion, he said that 36 law graduates from the Scheduled Tribe community have been appointed as fellows at the Supreme Court. These students shall become successful lawyers and judges in the future. “I believe the Supreme Court of India is not the supreme court of Tilak Marg, Delhi but a court of the nation,” he added.
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