Report No. 14
11. Academic and vocational training.-
Law, like other subjects studies at our Universities such as mathematics and philosophy, has great value as a cultural discipline. A study of law, therefore, can itself be a means of intellectual development and an instrument of liberal education. Law, like mathematics and philosophy, is a vast field of study needing application and research for its development. Law may also be studies as a vocational training for entering the legal profession. There are also those who take courses in law with a view to entering the public services, international organizations or business concerns in which a knowledge of law is essential or helpful, or those who take such courses to better their prospects in the occupations in which they are already engaged. In our Universities, legal studies are pursued with these different objectives.
The supposed antithesis-false.- A frequent theme of controversy is the supposed antithesis between an academic legal education and a training in law for the profession. The bifurcation of legal education into what may be called University or academic legal education and professional legal education, the "first being imparted at the Universities and the latter by organizations of professional men is, perhaps, based on this distinction. It appears to us however, that there need be no conflict between an academic and a practical training in law. As has been said by the Bombay Legal Education Committee "there is no real antimony between the professional and the cultural aspects of law.
A lawyer will be a better lawyer and a judge a better judge, if he has studies the science of law. A thorough grounding in the principles of law is absolutely necessary in the make-up of a real lawyer."1 To those who believe that an academic training hardly furnishes any useful equipment to the practical lawyer and believe that what is really important is the practical aspect which can only be learnt in a lawyer's office, a convincing answer can be made in the words of Dean McClain of the Duke University Law School" that there is yet one serious danger in "allowing the student to pursue the so-called practical training to the neglect of thorough and indispensable scholarly and analytical legal training.
Without this, the student is hopelessly lost in practice and practical 'know-how' becomes empty and meaningless. The young graduate's lack of 'know-how' is soon cured by experience, whereas the graduate without broad scholarship background and strong analytical reasoning ability never recovers. The public is much more apt to suffer seriously from the latter type of lawyer over the long-pull than from the neophyte who lacks practical 'know-how' at the beginning of his practice."2 As Professor Sidney Post Simpson has said "Competence in the practical pursuits of the law is promoted far more by an understanding of the law's underlying principles and theories than by acquaintance with tricks of the trade."3
1. Report (1949), p. 21, para. 44.
2. Is Legal Education doing its Job? A Reply, Dean McClain, American Bar Association Journal, February 1953, pp. 120, 123.
3. 49 Harvard Law Journal, p. 1Q60.
12. The position in India and abroad.-
In the system of legal education which prevails in the American Law Schools, attempts have been made broadly to combine theoretical and practical training. In many schools the students are given opportunities during vacations, while receiving their academic training, to derive practical knowledge of the working of the law by associating themselves with lawyers' offices for certain periods. This type of training is called "performance courses."
In England, the academic and practical training are strictly separated: the Universities impart the academic training while the Inns of Court and the Council of Legal Education and the Law Society deal with the training of professional lawyers. In India, broadly speaking the task of academic legal education is left to the law colleges affiliated to the Universities which admit to their courses graduates who have undergone a liberal education while we leave the professional training of the law graduate either to bodies like Bar Councils or to senior lawyers who receive apprentices in their chambers.
13. Our suggestion: University training followed by a professional course.-
We think that our needs in regard to legal education will be well served by first subjecting our young men who have received a liberal education to University courses in law which will teach them the science of law and the principles underlying different branches of law. The law graduate produced by the University has to be a person who has a mastery of legal theory and legal principles.
The young law graduate would then have to make his choice between an academic and a professional career. If he prefers a further study of the science of law and wants to undertake research in any of its branches, he could, after his bachelor's degree in law, pursue further studies, do research at the University and qualify for a Master's degree and thereafter for a Doctor's degree.
If he chooses to enter the profession of law, he will have to take a practical course in law which, perhaps, would be best imparted by bodies of professional men like the Bar Councils. The grounding in the theory and principles of law imparted to the law graduates will also serve the purpose of those who have taken the legal course with the object of obtaining a cultural or liberal education orwith a view to equipping themselves for the public services or commercial employments. A system so ordered, will in our view, harmonize with the way in which legal education has developed in our country in the past and lead, if such education is imparted in the right manner, to our young men growing into scholars in diverse branches of law and erudite and efficient practitioners of law.
14. Standard of admission to the study of law.-
We shall now turn to some of the specific problems relating to legal education. The stage at which a student should be permitted to embark upon his legal studies has been a matter of considerable controversy. This recently, in the University of Bombay, now split up into the regional Universities of Bombay, Poona, Gujarat and Karnataka, and in the University of Andhra the requirement for admission to a law degree course was either a degree of these Universities or its equivalent or the Law Preliminary Examination of the University. The duration of the law course in these Universities is two years after graduation in arts or science, or other subjects or three years after the intermediate examination of which one year is taken for the Law Preliminary course.
Admission after Intermediate(Views of the Chagla Committee).- In the Bombay University, admission to the degree course in law was, upto 1934-35, open only to graduates in arts, science or other subjects; it was only in 1938, as a consequence of the Report of the Legal Education Reforms Committee of 1935, that law course was thrown open to students who had passed the intermediate examination also, a full time law college being simultaneously established. The Bombay Legal Education Committee which made its Report in 1949 expressed itself in favour of the retention of the intermediate examination as the standard of admission to the degree courses in law.
After considering the views of several Indian and foreign experts it came to the conclusion that admission at that stage resulted in efficiency and economy. "If a law student has to spend at least six years after the Matriculation, as he does in other Universities, we are of the opinion that the only course that can be adopted is to curtail the period of pre-legal education and extend the law course.1" Dealing with the criticism that persons entering the legal profession must have a mature understanding and wider culture than can be attained by students who have passed only the intermediate examination, the Committee said:
"It appears to us that the real question is not whether a graduate has a more mature mind than the Intermediate student, for that is a proposition which one may not like to controvert. 'But the more pertinent question is-has the Intermediate student a sufficiently mature understanding to be able to study the course which we are recommending for the law degree.' And we are of the opinion that he has."2 The Committee supported its view by referring to the practice in England where a student who has passed the Matriculation examination is considered capable of entering upon the study of subjects like Jurisprudence and to the one in Canada where a two year college course is accepted by many Universities as sufficient for entrance to the law course.
1. Report, p. 32, para. 67.
2. Ibid., p. 27, para. 56.
Dissenting minutes (The case for graduation.).- The Committee, however, was not unanimous in reaching this conclusion. Two of its members, Mahamahopadhyaya Dr. P.V. Kane and Mr. Justice N.H. Bhagwati expressed a dissenting opinion. Dr. Kane pointed out in his minute of dissent that those who passed the intermediate arts or intermediate commerce examination did not possess "the necessary mental equipment to enable them to grasp easily the fundamental principles of law" and that they were "immature in years" because most students passed the Matriculation or Secondary School Certificate examination at about 16 and the Intermediate examination at about 18 while a person who had graduated in any faculty would be about 20 or 21 when he took his degree.
Dr. Kane also thought that there should be uniformity as far as possible in all the Indian Universities in regard to the standards of law examinations. He was of the view that the experiment made in the Bombay University since 1938 had practically failed. Mr. Justice Bhagwati took the same view and for similar reasons. Quoting extensively from the Examiners' Reports of the First and Second LL.B. examinations held since 1938, he observed that in spite of instruction in law being impacted in full-time institutions, the fact that the stage of admission was the passing of the Intermediate examination had contributed to the unsatisfactory results which were achieved.
"I am confident," he observed, "and I agree with the examiners when they state that if the graduation was the stage of admission to the studies in law, the results would have been much better and the instruction which is imparted in the full-time institutions would have borne greater fruit and the complaints as regards the turning out by the University of half-baked and ill-equipped lawyers would never have come into existence."1
1. Report, p. 94
15. Foreign practice irrelevant.-
The practice in England and Canada which has been referred to by the majority of the Bombay Legal Education Committee in support of its conclusions has to be examined in reference to the conditions prevailing in those countries which, as Mr. Justice Bhagwati pointed out in his minute of dissent, are different from those obtaining in India. The students in those countries are taught in their mother tongue with the aid of text books written in their mother tongue. They are in the hands of competent teachers at schools where the general standard of teaching is much higher than in India. With this may be contrasted the practice in a large number of American States which requires the completion of a three-year course for a Bachelor's degree in an accredited college or University as a condition of eligibility for admission to law course.
16. Present day opinion favouring graduation.-
Moreover, since the Committee made its recommendations in 1949, opinion has hardened in favour of the system, generally prevailing, of insisting on a University arts or science degree as a condition for admission into a law college. The Rajasthan Legal Education Committee which made its Report in 1955 took the view that only graduates should be admitted to the LL.B. course which, it proposed, should be a three-year course.1 It, however, proposed that students who had taken law in their B.A. classes and graduated with law should be required to take only a two year course for the LL.B. degree.2
It is interesting to note that Professor L. R, Sivasubramanian, the Dean of the Faculty of Law of the Delhi University, and Dr. R. U. Singh, Professor of Law of the Lucknow University (since deceased) whom the Bombay Committee quoted as favouring the admission of students who have passed the Intermediate examination to law course have in the evidence given before us expressed a contrary view. Both these gentlemen stated before us that a University degree should be a condition for admission to law course. Dr. R. U. Singh went further and stated that the admission to those courses of persons who had passed the Intermediate examination had proved unsatisfactory.
1. Report, pp. 39, 42.
2. Ibid., p. 44.
It may be mentioned that the Andhra University appointed a Committee presided over by Mr. Justice Wadia which made its Report in 1955 recommending the continuance of the admission of students who had passed the Intermediate arts examination to the law courses. Notwithstanding this recommendation, we understand that the Andhra University has decided that admission to law courses should be granted only to graduates.
Majority for graduation.- Most of the witnesses engaged in imparting legal education who appeared before us, were of the view that for a proper appreciation of the legal principles by a law student it was essential that he should have obtained graduation at the University. The Principal of the Government Law College, Bombay, however, expressed the view that the Law Preliminary course of the Bombay University was as good as a degree course in arts or science.
17. Graduation essential for admission to a law course.-
On a consideration of the evidence given before us by University teachers of law in the various States we have come to the conclusion that admission to law courses should be restricted to those who have obtained a University degree in arts, science, commerce or other courses. We have no doubt that a general liberal education in cultural or scientific subjects which a student usually receives in a four-year degree course in an arts or science college is an essential pre-requisite to his embarking upon a study of law.
We may state that the All-India Bar Committee also considered graduation in arts, science or commerce as necessary for admission to law course1. The Radhakrishnan Commission appears to have taken the same view pointing out that "the best colleges of law including Harvard, Columbia, Michigan, Chicago, California and others require completion of a four-year degree course in Arts and Science before admission to the law courses."2
1. Report of the All-India Bar Committee, 1953, p. 23, para. 60.
2. Report of the University Education Commission, Vol. I, p. 260.
18. Scope of legal education in the Universities.-
The question of the duration of the law course at a University is to a certain extent allied with the scope of legal education which the Universities should impart as, the larger the number of subjects that has to be taught in the law colleges, the longer will be the course. Should the Universities have a purely academic course leaving the procedural and cognate laws to be the subject of a further practical training? At the moment there is no such well defined distinction in the University courses.
19. Duration of law course.-
In all the Universities, excepting the Universities of Calcutta and Gauhati, the University law degree course is of two years' duration. The opinion of a large number of witnesses who spoke from long experience of teaching law was that the period of two years was not sufficient for covering the large number of subjects attempted to be taught with a view to equipping the student either for later higher academic studies and research or for a professional career.
In most of the Universities the subjects taught during these two years are Roman Law and Jurisprudence, Constitutional Law, Law of Crimes, Law of Contracts and Torts, Easements, Law of Property and Registration, Hindu and Mohammedan Law, Company Law, Law of Partnership and the procedural laws like laws of Civil and Criminal Procedure, Limitation and Evidence. In some of the Universities, the courses also include local laws relating to land tenures and other matters.
20. Academic year too short (Two years insufficient).-
Most of the law colleges are, as we have seen, part-time institutions conducting classes in the mornings or in the evenings. The academic year generally begins in June or July and ends in March. Excluding the vacations and holidays, the total number of working days is between 170 and 180 per year and the student is not required to keep his attendance for more than about 75 per cent. of the working days. The result, in the words of Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru is that "it is impossible to traverse even a respectable area of law within two years." He proceeds to state that "if the Universities want to raise their standard of legal education, if the Universities want their graduates in law should have a more extensive, if not more intensive, knowledge of law, then the least they can do is they must provide three years' course."1
1. Purpose and Method of Law Schools'-Address delivered at the Allahabad University in 1934. Cited in the Bombay Legal Education Committee Report, p. 36.