Students of the prestigious National Law School of India University (NLSIU) in Bangalore have to go around “with begging bowls” to raise finances for foreign trips to participate in competitions, vice-chancellor A Jayagovind said on Sunday.
At the university’s 14th annual convocation attended by Chief Justice, YK Sabharwal and finance minister P Chidambaram, Jayagovind highlighted the ‘serious financial constraints’ its students face going abroad for international moot court competitions.
“We cannot afford to finance these trips that cost lakhs of rupees,” he said. “The result is that students selected for these competitions have to go around literally with begging bowls to raise finances rather than researching on problems.
“This looks pathetic when compared to the situation in Singapore and other universities, where students are given every encouragement to participate in such programmes.” Established as an institution of excellence and considered one of the top legal education centres in the country, the NLSIU is a statutory university whose Chancellor is the Chief Justice of India.
Jayagovind said it is to the credit of the students that they had braved these hardships and done well, making the school and the country proud with their impressive performances.
“But we must not allow this deplorable situation to continue, since many meritorious students who cannot raise the resources are likely to opt out of the race,” he said. He suggested that while law schools undertake the task of national selections, the teams chosen should be financed by the Centre for some selected international competitions like the Jessup and Vienna arbitration moot court.
“One way is to continue as we are, and with some support from the government and the public, is to register incremental progress year after year as we have done so far; and another option is to expand in a big way — both qualitatively and quantitatively, benchmarking ourselves with international standards,” Jayagovind said.
The second alternative, he said, requires resources running into several crores of rupees. This would require the support of the Centre. “By world-class institution, if it means that we should have in India something like the Singapore Law School, such a decision has to be taken at the highest level,” he said.
“Let me assure that the NLSIU is prepared to take up the challenge, if it gets the green signal from government. We have an action plan in this regard,” he said.