Law students to learn Indian art of advocacy
Students enrolled in the bachelors laws programme at the Maharashtra National Law University in Nagpur will soon learn the ancient Indian logic of arriving at truth in a lawsuit. After decades of imparting legal knowledge sourced from ancient Greek and Latin principles, this is the first time any school here will attempt to teach aspiring lawyers how to apply Indian logic to analyse legal propositions.
Ancient Indian logic takes within its sweep the Baudhic and Jain knowledge systems that prescribe ways to arrive at the truth. A separate department called the Centre for Shastric Studies and Research in Law has been set up at the university to identify the principles to be included in various subjects such as the Indian Evidence Act, Administrative Law, Company Law, even the Indian Constitution.
Senior Supreme Court advocate P Narasimha, who is closely associated with the school, said principles of ancient Indian law will be an additional source of knowledge.
“At present, the system has adopted what we call the adversarial system. Systems within the Indian logic have proceeded to analyse different means of acquiring knowledge. Instead of losing this knowledge, we must adopt it appropriately.”
He says the concepts include how to: conduct a debate, lead evidence and arrive at truth. It also includes what constitutes : restraint under the constitutional right to free speech and expression; doubt: or a conspiracy. The lawyer says such concepts are more expansive in nature under ancient Indian law.
“Principles of administrative and constitutional law, human rights and criminal justice systems need to be developed from the perspective of virtue jurisprudence which is a new area of research and discourse in the rest of the world . Indic knowledge can make contribution in this field,” added Narashima.
Interestingly, CSSRL was conceptualised two years ago by the current Chief Justice of India SA Bobde who is the Chancellor of Maharashtra NLU. The centre started operations in February and students admitted to the undergraduate programme in this session will the first batch to learn the principles of Ancient Indian Law.
Ila Sudame, centre co-ordinator for the NLU, said: “The centre seeks to study the concepts of syllogism, logic and reasoning embedded in Indic studies and utilise the same in legal discourse. CCSRL aims to conduct in-depth and high-quality research in the realm of Indic knowledge systems.”
Narasimha points out that ancient Indian law has been a paper in law courses but its principles have never been taught with other subjects. “Law students are told what Nyay Shastra is. The application of ancient Indian law to the Indian legal system will be learnt by the law students now under CSSRL.”
Sudame said the Centre will examine the relevance of Indic knowledge for resolving contemporary issues through adjudication and mediation.