Gujarat National Law University (GNLU), Gandhinagar
Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) was created in 2003 by the Gujarat National Law University Act, 2003. It released its notification for the first year of instruction for its three 5 year integrated courses, BA LLB, BSc LLB and BCom LLB.. 15% reservation for SC, 7.5% for ST and 10% for residents of Gujarat. In all, there are 160 students, 80 in a section.
Eligibility - 50% in 10+2 examination or its equivalent. Those appearing for the 2008 March/April exam are also eligible. The age limit is below 20 years as on July 1 of the year of admission. The age limit for SC/ST students is 22 years.
Entrance Test - Admission will now be based on the student’s rank in the Common Entrance Test for the National Law Schools, and his/her preference.
GNLU offers 3 integrated 5-year programs, BA, LLB (Hons), BSc, LLB (Hons) and Bcom, LLB (Hons). Each academic year will have two semesters, a total of 10 semesters for the whole program. In each semester, a student will have to clear 6 papers. During the first two semesters, there will be no bifurcation of streams and all students have to study science, history, sociology, political science, economics and basics of business management along with the law subjects. In the first semester, there are more stream subjects than law subjects, but efforts are made to relate the stream subjects to law. As far as science is concerned, there is an erudite faculty member, Mr. Balajirao, exclusively dealing with the legal and ethical issues associated with biological weapons, cloning, cyber terrorism etc. In history, more emphasis is laid on the development of social and political institutions and legal system in India since ancient times, rather than memorizing dates and events. The teachers, by and large, use an interactive method of teaching. Attendance norms are strictly enforced. The papers, whether of law or stream subjects, are to a great extent, application-based. However, like any other institution, particularly a young one, not all the teachers are excellent, though some definitely are.
At present, GNLU does not have a very impressive campus and the hostel and college are situated at a distance from each other, students having to travel to and fro by the college bus or by autorikshaws. However, the hostel accommodation is not bad and GNLU is one of the few National Law Universities to give its students an attached toilet and bathroom. Warm water is provided in buckets to each of the rooms in the winters. Newspapers are also provided in the rooms, if you subscribe for them.
There is a decent library with many books on several law as well as stream subjects. There is also a computer lab, which is often used by the students for online research, typing necessary documents, e-mailing, sitting on hi5/orkut/facebook etc., though students are recommended to bring their own laptops (there is Internet connectivity in the hostel rooms). There is free access to the online legal journal and law report, Manupatra, via the college computers. Facility for printing out is available in the college. In any case, it is definitely advisable to bring your own pendrive. There is also a cyber café, by the name of Om Cyber Café, near the hostel.
Snacks, in the form of biscuits and sandwiches, are available all throughout the day, free of cost, in the college canteen, but you have to pay for branded packed juices, chips etc. On working days, breakfast, lunch and post-college snacks are served in the college canteen, and dinner in the hostel, while on holidays, all meals are served in the boys’ mess and common mess in the hostel. The breakfast and after-college snacks are very tasty (there is a cook who makes egg preparations of your choice) and are better than the lunch and dinner. Non-vegetarian food is served twice a week.
There is a table tennis table in the college and in the boys’ mess in the hostel. There are also volleyball/throw-ball nets in the hostel blocks. In the hostel, there is also a decent gymnasium.
Access to television is usually only during meals, in the mess. GNLU students watch cricket matches in groups with gusto.
The faculty, peons and office staff are, by and large, very decent and friendly.
A new campus is being constructed at Koba, which will have both the hostel and college in it, a much bigger library and better sports and other facilities. While the students are urging for speedy construction of the new campus, there is also resentment against the fact that Koba as a city is highly undeveloped, as compared to Gandhinagar, and that the hostel rooms in the new campus may not have attached toilets and bathrooms.
Co-curricular activities in GNLU include mooting, article-writing, writing research papers and presenting them at conferences and client-counseling.
Of these, mooting is the one that gains maximum prominence, and in fact to a much greater extent than all others. It would not be an understatement to say that in GNLU, mooting is religion. There is a Moot Court Committee, members of which are selected via an interview in which four students per batch are selected. It conducts two rounds of intra-University moot court competitions every semester. On the basis of the performance of the students in the second round and their preferences, they are sent for various national and international moot court competitions. No student can moot more than once a year. GNLU students even participate in the MS University (Baroda) Moot Court Competition, in which law colleges of Gujarat participate. The Moot Court Committee also performs the task of training freshers in the art of mooting, which it performs very well. Considering the fact that GNLU is only three years old, it has achieved a lot in the field of mooting. It has won the recent NUS (Singapore) Moot Court Competition conducted at Delhi, the WTO Moot etc. and been a quarter-finalist or semi-finalist at highly prestigious moot court competitions such as Philip Jessup. Even as far as national moots are concerned, the performance of GNLU is highly commendable. In its very first year, it qualified to the semi-finals of the Henri Durand Moot Court Competition, and also has the credit of winning the prestigious Surana & Surana.
Even in the field of article-writing, the institution has made its mark. An article written by a then 2nd year student was published in the Journal of the Indian Law Institute. Articles by several students have been published in several eminent legal journals. The college even has its own e-journal, Just Cause, in which articles on stream subjects and general articles are also published. The selection of articles is done by an Editorial Board, comprising students as well as faculty members.
As far as conferences are concerned, GNLU students have presented research papers at various national conferences, such as the one organized in NLU (Jodhpur), as well as international conferences. In the conference being organized at ICFAI Business School (Ahmedabad), GNLU was the college with the largest number of delegates.
Another co-curricular activity deserving attention is raising legal awareness and rendering free legal services. This is done by the Legal Service Committee, the members of which, four in number per batch, are selected through an interview. Some GNLU students, of their own accord, have formed NGOs.
As far as extra-curricular activities are concerned, they include debating, quizzing, extemporary speaking etc. These are conducted by the Cultural Committee (the number of students and selection procedure is same for all Committees). Based on their performance within the University, students are sent to inter-University competitions, such as those in the fests organized by IIT (Delhi) and ULC (Bangalore). In this respect too, GNLU has made its mark.
GNLU has many talented singers and musicians, who exhibit their talent on the Foundation Day and Independence Day Celebrations. Even the compering in these events is quite good.
With respect to sports, it may be mentioned that a Sports Meet is organized by the Sports Committee, which creates great enthusiasm among students, both boys and girls. The meet comprises athletic events, as well as games such as cricket, football, basketball, badminton, volleyball and table-tennis (since the present GNLU campus does not have the infrastructure to have all these events formally organized, many of them are organized in the Sports Authority of India complex). GNLU students participate in the NUJS (Kolkata) Sports Meet.
However, it is sad to note that GNLU does not sponsor any of its moot court, debating, sports or any other teams.
There is a Gender Sensitization Committee dealing with complaints filed by female students and staff members. There is also a Public Relations Committee, a Mess Committee and a Transport Committee, thus at least theoretically involving students in all possible respects. There is also an Internship and Placement Committee, which performs very important functions. Its role has been discussed subsequently.
The first batch of GNLU is going to pass out in 2009. While most students wish to enter the corporate world, there are also those wanting to practise in the courts, join the bench or the civil services, or even the LPO and NGO sectors. There are also those pursuing courses like CA and CS along with their law degree, and those wishing to pursue further studies. There is no doubt about the fact that GNLU is one of the finest law colleges in the country, and has achieved a lot in a very short span of time. The bright students who pass out from this college are bound to get good placements, also keeping in view the fact that the state of Gujarat is highly industrialized. The college, by and large, has a good industry reputation.
GNLU students have got good internships, such as in Human Rights Law Network, Amnesty International, National Human Rights Commission and Amarchand Mangaldas, either through the college or of their own accord. A six-week internship in the winter break (November-December) is compulsory. 1st year students are to intern in an NGO, 2nd year students under a Trial Court advocate, 3rd year students under a High Court advocate, 4th year students under a Supreme Court advocate or in a law firm and 5th year students in an MNC, thus giving exposure to different types of career options after completion of the law degree. The task of allotting internships to students, who wish to do so through the college, and keeping a track of where students are doing so of their own accord is performed by the Internship and Placement Committee. There is also a Campus Recruitment Committee. The students are to submit a report of the work done during the course of their internship, as well as bring a confidential assessment of the work done by them from the organisation. Several students, out of their own free will, also intern in the summer break (May-June).
The high intake of students in GNLU, while on one hand often leading to disciplinary problems in the classroom, leads to diversity of students in every sense, thus enabling every student to make friends with the type of people he/she wants to. There are decent restaurants in Gandhinagar, such as the ones in Haveli Hotel (always packed with GNLUites) and Cambay Hotel, Dosa Inn etc. A Café Coffee Day has also opened in Gandhinagar. There is a market around the hostel, where several food items are sold. A decently tasty chocolate pastry is sold at just Rs. 8! There is also a dabba wala supplying food to your hostel room. There are also decent as well as excellent movie theatres in Gandhinagar, such as Rajshree, Our World and City Pulse. However, Gujarat is a dry state and there aren’t many discos in Gandhinagar. Also, there is no drug culture of any sort in GNLU. Several students also go to the highly developed neighbouring city of Ahmedabad on weekends.
There is a strong academic and intellectual environment. This was disturbed to some extent by politics at the top level, which unfortunately percolated down to the level of the students, and which to an extent, even adversely affected the reputation of the college, but it has now come to an end. The seniors are extremely helpful in academic and other respects, though there is ragging in a very mild form in the beginning for the freshers, which involves forcing you to address your seniors as Sir/Mam, and wish them whenever you see them, give your introduction over and over again to different seniors and sing songs for them.