Published: 14th June 2022
Law lessons in local languages: Committee discusses teaching law in 12 languages in over 1,000 colleges
Chamu Krishna Shastry, Chairman, Bharatiya Bhasha Samiti, under the union education ministry, said it is a historic step which will go a long way in making a legal education rooted in Indian ethos
A national committee for developing regional languages in legal education has been constituted by the Bar Council of India (BCI), which will discuss teaching law in 12 Indian languages in over 1,000 colleges.
The committee, chaired by Justice SA Bobde, former Chief Justice of India, plans to roll out textbooks for law students in local languages by the 2023-24 academic session. Manan Kumar Mishra, senior advocate, Supreme Court of India and the chairman of BCI, said the committee would ensure the publication of good legal textbooks in regional languages so that law institutions would not have any difficulty in imparting legal education in local languages.
The BCI Rules of Legal Education already allow the study of legal education in local languages, said Mishra, the working president of the committee.
Chamu Krishna Shastry, Chairman, Bharatiya Bhasha Samiti, under the union education ministry, said it is a historic step which will go a long way in making a legal education system rooted in Indian ethos as envisaged in National Education Policy.
He said there is not much study material in local languages for law students. "The need of the time is to produce quality legal textbooks. There are some legal books in Hindi and Tamil, but not in other local languages," Shastry, who is one of the members of the committee, told TNIE.
He said the focus this year would be on producing good quality content and textbooks in local languages, and then law colleges will be requested to start using them from 2023-24 academic years.
Other members of the committee include Justice L Narasimha Reddy, former Chief Justice of Patna High Court; Prof M Jagadesh Kumar, Chairman, UGC; Prof Ishwara Bhat, former Vice-Chancellor, National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) Kolkata and Karnataka Law University; Ashok Mehta, senior advocate, Prayagraj; Prof. Dr S Vaidhyasubramaniam, Vice-Chancellor, Sastra University, Tamil Nadu; Anjali Vijay Thakur, advocate, Nagpur; Prof Satya Narain Sharma, Dean, Law department and former Principal, Madhav College, Ujjain; Dr Gopakumar Sharma, Joint Secretary, UGC and Anjul Dwivedi, SC advocate.
The rollout of textbooks in local languages will also impact courts, said Shastry.
While the BCI sets the curriculum, the law colleges are affiliated with the University Grants Commission (UGC). While the local courts use local languages, in high courts and Supreme Court, the language is mainly English.
"There will be pressure on courts to translate judgements in local languages. About 90 per cent of people are denied justice because they don't understand laws or comprehend judgements that impact their lives," Shastry added.