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This article has been submitted for the CLATGyan Blog Post Writing Competition by a student of the Institute of Law, NIRMA University, who goes by the pseudonym “Agent Vinod”. If you think this article is a good read, ‘Like’ this article on Facebook (the button is at the bottom of this piece) or post a comment using the ‘comments’ section below.
“Things will get better with time. This is Nirma, after all. You will get used to the dhulaai” said some of my seniors back in my first year. Two years later, the same pangs of despair and desperation persist. Depressed by the shameless advertising my institution has indulged in to trap poor 12th pass outs these days, I thought of it as my dharma to write this piece. Anyone expecting a love story between a student with his classroom, walls, ceiling, floors etc. may well stop reading beyond this point. Its Institute of Law, Nirma University we are talking about and I hate don’t quite like it here.
To begin with, let’s start with the biggest farce that the students of this University are told. Google “Nirma University” and the Wikipedia page tells you about a “Nirma University of Science and Technology” dating back to 2003. Institute of Law came only in 2007. The Law building that you see on the website of this “Institute” is an image of the Institute of Management. In a sprawling 120 acre campus well outside the city of Ahmedabad, this place will certainly soothe the eyes of your parents, who will love every bit of the “Nirma University” that will be on show (Read : The fountain will be working alright, the guards will be polite, Management canteen food shall be served etc). But it is after the fee has been paid and the gates of admission are locked, does the real screwing up of mind and body start in the right earnest.
Forget academics and moots and everything else. Basic stuff first. Need Wi-Fi connectivity for the Internet for which you paid? Ordinary logic would have suggested that there be a distributed Internet Servers in all blocks of the campus, where students could get all their queries addressed. But hey! You fill up a form in the ILNU Computer Lab and get it signed by the Server guy here. Then you take your laptop with you to a long walk to the Technology department, where they will install the required settings and you are granted access to the ILNU Wi-Fi. If any problems arise, you are again expected to take a walk down to the Technology block. All this for a Wi-Fi on which the maximum that one can access is Gmail and TOI (The Hindu, also I think). Legally India? NO. Barandbench? NO. CLATGYAN? NO. One has to go to the Library to access the aforementioned, where, thanks to a few computer systems and too many students, chances are that you may have to depend upon the Wi-fi at the hostel/PG for most of the work. The entire Nirma University has a common cyber sphere and it is pretty much restricted.
More runs on similar lines – the payment of fees/payment of fine/Mobile Penalty Charges (It’s not only expensive to get caught with your mobile in class, but tiring as well) at the Institute is another such drama, where the cheque/DD/money does not get submitted to the ILNU Staff Office but at the Institute of Management Staff Office, which is another long walk from the Law building. Such levels of thoughtlessness reflect brilliantly upon the Institute, as none of the bright sparks thought of saving students and parents so much trouble.
Next up, Academics. Two things. Of late, most of the faculty that has been recruited is fresh out of their LLM, and is therefore pretty inexperienced. Second, the old stock of faculty that we have here, (barring 2 professors) is rather average. That is about it. What is the student at ILNU subjected to? Chants of CCE! CCE! CCE! reverberate around ILNU like the chants of “Har Har Mahadev” in the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi. However, the “system” (as RaGa would say) in which the college runs, ruins the very foundations on the hopes of which “CCE” is implemented. I have discussed this with students across all semesters and broadly, this is what happens here:
1. Sem begins. (Nothing happens)
2. 1 month later…we are 1 month into the Sem (Nothing happens)
3. 2 months later…CE Tests start to happen (Something happens)
4. After CE Tests… (Nothing Happens)
5. Hello! The semester is about to end! 20 Days till the sem ends! Everyone wakes up. PROJECTS! ASSIGNMENTS! VIVAS! LAST MINUTE HAND WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS! (in case the faculty forgot to conduct the CCE for some/all of the students) (EVERYTHING HAPPENS!)
6. 2 Days before Sem Ends! Screw studies. Let’s play with these kids for some more time. Attendance Review Committee! If you are short of 80%, get ready for numerous assignments, which is the Institute’s way of penalizing students. Students screwing up level: MAXIMUM.
With regard to point 5 and 6, this kills whatever interest students have to come and learn anything in the College. CCE gets reduced to ashes. In what can only be termed as a sadistic approach to learning, the institute succeeds in posing as many stumbling blocks before the students as it can just before the End Sem Exams as it can. The resulting chaos and brouhaha that ensues in the College is actually a treat to watch for a poet/lyricist, with students running helter-skelter during the very last days of a semester with files, papers, medical reports, exemptions.
Next up, Mooting. I think every Law student dreams to be a top notch mooter. The reality of the Mooting scene in ILNU is very very depressing in that aspect. As to why the college, which finds no ranking in the Mooting Premier League, does not succeed in Mooting at the top level despite some brilliant speakers on campus, is a mystery shrouded by many speculations. One thing which is not in speculation in this regard, is the utter disregard to mooters that exists. their moot court policy is such that you will be allowed to go for moot court only once in a year, while other institutions allow students to go for them on the basis of the interest of candidates prevailing at that point of time. Here, they conduct an intra moot, which remains effective throughout the year and moot court competitions are allocated to you as per your ranking. If you are not in the list, you are out of it for the whole year. Any reasonable person can understand the consequences of it. Even international intras are also not spared the horror. Every year, they change the moot policy and let students down at every step. Listening to tales of range of support in terms of academics, attendance, travelling expenses etc that the NLU’s extend to their students, let’s just say ILNU will continue to wander in wilderness in this aspect not because its students deserve so, but because other colleges have their priorities in sight and they care for their reputation and prestige.
Having said all that I have said, there have been a few bright spots too. Some good things the likes of “VIBES” have happened. The facilities at the college are there for all to make use of. So it’s an ideal place for all those aspiring “self-made men and women” out there, for the Institute literally does not really care about you. In all the rush for being deemed “Professionally Skilled“, ILNU seems to have no warm heart beating at the centre. As the upper instances show, the “student” is never at the center of attention in this college. That, to me, is the harsh reality and an extremely sad part of this story. The saddest part, however, is the fact that there is no academic review mechanism that is in place where the grievances/misconduct/academic issues against the Institute authorities can be taken up by the students at the University level which can be reviewed by a 2-3 member review committee, as is the case in most NLU’s. This is something which slams the door shut on any prospective reforms in any regard that may happen at ILNU. In few years’ time, I shall be more than happy to exit and remember this place as just another crazy factory of manufacturing legal robots.
P.S., When an Institute takes credit for an off campus placement (Yes ! THAT 34 Lac placement was OFF campus!), and learns of the holiday schedule of the High Courts only in the middle of the semester after planning the entire Internship schedule during Court holidays, you should learn where the nearest exit route is.