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Mumbai law students speak their minds

Various institutes across the city have been offering forums such as elocution competitions, debates, panel discussions and moot courts for students to express their free-flowing ideas and contrarian views.

mumbai Updated: Oct 23, 2016 23:45 IST
Musab Qazi
Professors and students of Thane Law College take part in a discussion on personal laws and Uniform Civil Code, on its campus last Friday.
Professors and students of Thane Law College take part in a discussion on personal laws and Uniform Civil Code, on its campus last Friday.(HT PHOTO)

Uniform Civil Code, surrogacy and death penalty, among other contentious issues, seem to have become the hot topics for discussion at law colleges across the city.

The Thane Law College, for instance, held a discussion on personal laws and Uniform Civil Code, on its campus last Friday. Speaking before a gathering of aspiring lawyers, four college professors took turns to explain the issue from various perspectives, while students were later given an opportunity to present their views on the topic.

Like the Thane Law College, various institutes across the city have been offering forums such as elocution competitions, debates, panel discussions and moot courts for students to express their free-flowing ideas and contrarian views.

Every week, the Government Law College (GLC) in Churchgate holds debate sessions for students who are part of its debating and literary society. At the debate, students lock horns over topics ranging from banning religious symbols in public places to bringing political parties under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

“We discuss many contemporary issues. These serve as practice sessions for college students to prepare for national-level events,” said Sansriti Singh, general secretary of GLC’s students’ council.

As Parliament prepares to debate on a set of proposed rules to regulate surrogacy, GJ Advani Law College, in Bandra, held an inter-college elocution competition in which the controversial subject featured prominently among the many topics spoken about. “A large number of participants spoke on the issue. They discussed the need to introduce an act which will not only recognise surrogacy but also ensure its protection,” said Meghna Divekar, a professor from the college.

Taking cue from the ongoing debate on euthanasia, Oriental College of Law in Navi Mumbai, asked the participants at an essay competition to pen their thoughts on the issue. While such discussions bring clarity on issues of national importance, they also help budding lawyers sharpen their legal acumen.

Moot court competitions – where law students argue imaginary cases in a make-belief courtroom – remains the most effective forum for the students to hone their argumentative skills. In such competitions, the students are asked to appear as lawyers on behalf of appellants and respondents involved in a famous legal matter.

For example, at a recent moot court competition at New Law College, Pune, students re-enacted a Supreme Court case on banning dance bars.

Arvind Kotian, a law student, said, “Moot courts offer us a platform to learn how to argue in a courtroom. While we are taught theory in classrooms, practical knowledge is essential too.”