ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Madhava Menon and Legal Education

The most fitting tribute to N R Madhava Menon would be to pose critical questions on the status of legal education in India and to strive for its transformation along with the reform of the legal system as a whole.

Of all the obituaries and tributes paid to N R Madhava Menon this week, one word I have yet to see is “provocative.” I intend to remedy that. I have been witness to two instances where Menon’s speech provoked furious and angry reactions from very senior lawyers.

The first instance was at the opening panel in a national consultation on reforming legal education. Menon was late as his flight was delayed, but he practically ran up to the stage (even at his age) to make sure he could deliver his remarks on time. And what remarks they were! In a blistering speech, he tore into the Bar Council of India’s (BCI) handling of legal education, mincing no words when telling everyone what he thought of the mess it had made so far. He urged the government to take away the powers of the BCI in legal education and give them to another body. This was not quite appreciated by the then chairperson of the BCI (and an eminent senior advocate) who was seated in the front row and who leapt to his feet as soon as Menon was done, to equally stridently express his opinion.

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Updated On : 17th May, 2019

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