Search This Blog

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

IDIA Gets Its Logo [UPDATED]!

A big thank you is also due to all the law students, lawyers, law firmites, legal academicians and others who sent in their entries. The entries were diverse in content and style and the democratic short-listing of entries, done by the IDIA core team was a very difficult task indeed. Entries were received from as far as the US with some participants sending more than two entries. Thank you again for your commitment.

We will also be showcasing the other brilliant logo entries which narrowly missed out from winning this competition. Stay tuned.

PS- We have also announced our first Legal Reasoning Question Making Competition. The three best set of questions will win 3000/-, 2000/- and 1000/- respectively. This is what Prof. Shamnad Basheer's FB status had to say about this competition: "Are you good at legal reasoning? (or do you think the term itself is an oxymoron, since there is no reason in the law). Can you frame complicated questions that many would take years to answer? If so, this competition is just for you. Pit your legal brains and your creative juices against the very best"!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

IDIA Question Making Competition (Legal Reasoning)

- By Sahana Manjesh

What is IDIA?

Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA), is a nationwide program that aims to draw in talented students from marginalized and under-represented parts of India to the best national law schools in the country. Thus, students are identified and trained to crack CLAT, the joint entrance exam organized by 11 law schools. The program is in its first year and we have already selected around 50 students for training.

               What is the question making competition?
As part of the training given to IDIA students, we are looking for a bundle of outstanding questions in legal reasoning to prepare the students. Thus, this is a competition to select the best set of questions. You must submit 10 questions at the very minimum. The more creative and tougher the questions, the better!

What’s in this for you?

Lots of prize money to be won! The best set of questions get a prize of Rs. 3000, the second best Rs. 2000 and Rs. 1000 for the third place.

What kind of questions are we looking for?

We are looking to get from every participant (teams allowed) a set of ten questions (at the very minimum) in legal reasoning in any area of law that you like (a mixture of different laws is preferable). Remember that these are students who do not know anything about the law. We are testing for only aptitude for legal reasoning…and not for the knowledge of the law. So please do not assume any knowledge of the law…if you are using any legal concept or term, please explain its meaning in the problem itself. The student should be able to solve the problem by simply reading the legal principle or principles and then applying them to the fact situation.

Legal aptitude is also the ability to sift through a morass of facts and to distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant. Therefore, ensure also that your problems have a bunch of relevant and irrelevant facts thrown in, the more the merrier; we’d like the students to be able to sift out necessary information. We’d also like to get some really tough questions, so turn up the difficulty level! You will find at the end of this document two sample questions for guidance as to language and level of toughness. Please feel free however to come with a format that suits you best; we’d like you to work around with the options so that we can have a truly tough set of questions. The questions should be in the form of MCQs. Please note that the all questions submitted are free for use by the IDIA team and/or their partners in any manner they deem fir for the purpose of furthering the goals of the IDIA project.

Where and how do we submit?

Please mail in your questions to The questions must be sent in a word document along with details about the team. The entries must reach us before midnight of 20 September 2010. Questions must be accompanied with answers.

Sample Questions

Find below two sample questions for your guidance. You will notice that terms like “patent” have been explained in the question itself. The right option is the one in bold.

Sample Question 1


The law of country A stipulates that a patent shall not be granted for a method of medical treatment.

Explanations: (i) Treatment includes any act of diagnosis, therapy or surgery on the human body.

(ii) A patent is a legal monopoly granted to any inventor who discovers a new and useful technological invention. By virtue of this monopoly, the inventor has certain legal rights and can prevent others from manufacturing a product or using a process or method corresponding to that patent for a period of 20 years.

A is admitted to hospital after meeting with a car accident. As A is being operated, some of A’s blood is taken away for routine testing purposes. It is then discovered that A’s blood contains a rare protein that could be useful in fighting cancer. However, the blood cannot be stored for a long time. One of the doctors comes up with a new method of storing the blood without any risk of the blood disintegrating. Can this method be patented?

1. It cannot be patented, as it is not really new. Ways of storing things have been known to mankind for a long time.

2. It cannot be patented, as the method is not useful

3. It cannot be patented, since the method was discovered in the course of treating a human body.

4. It can be patented, since it is new and useful.

5. It cannot be patented, since doctors are in social service and should not be awarded monopolies.

6. It cannot be patented, since the method exploits the condition of an “accident” victim.

Explanation of the answer: since the method of keeping the blood stable has nothing to with “treatment” on the human body, it is not a method of medical treatment. Therefore, if new and useful, it is patentable.

Sample Question 2

(Please note that the reasoning given at the end of the answers is only for your guidance. You will only be required to send in questions with multiple choices.)

Given below are some principles that govern wills.

Principle 1. When there are two inconsistent clauses in a will, the last one will prevail.

Principle 2. If the same quantity or amount of something has been bequeathed (willed) twice to the same person in the will, then it is deemed to have been bequeathed just once. If however there are unequal bequests made, then the legatee (person benefitting from the will) is entitled to both.

Principle 3. If anything that has been bequeathed to a person is not in existence at the time of the death of the testator (person making the will), then the bequest will not take effect.

Sada Khush Raho lived a long and fruitful life. He had a wife, Patni, and two children- a daughter Putri and son Putra. While Putri was a responsible child always having pleased her family, Putra was a bit of an eccentric. In his lifetime, Sada Khush Raho had been a successful book store keeper, having built himself and his family a small fortune through sheer hard work. One day however, as he was arranging the newly arrived books in the shelves, he fell and broke his back, only to be bed ridden for the rest of his few remaining years. He then decided it was time to retire and so at the age of 78, having worked for the better part of his life, Sada Khush Raho put up his boots. When he turned 80, he had a premonition that he would not survive for long and hence decided to draw up a will to determine how his assets would devolve pursuant to his death. He passed away on 14.1.2010, a day shy of his 82nd birthday. The will that he had drafted is now to be executed. This is what his will looks like:

I, Sada Khush Rao, do hereby will that my assets be devolved in the following manner:

• I leave to my daughter Putri Rs. 10, 00, 000.

• I leave to my wife Patni Rs. 5, 00, 000.

• To my son Putra, I leave behind my blue ambassador car.

• Putri, my daughter, is to get Rs. 10, 00, 000.

• The site in Mysore is to be bequeathed to my grandson Yuvaraja.

• I leave to my wife Stridhani Rs. 10, 00, 000.

• The site in Mysore is to be bequeathed to my granddaughter Yuvrani.

Now apply the principles governing wills to answer the following questions:

1. How much will Putri receive under the will?

a. Rs. 5, 00, 000

b. Rs. 10, 00, 000

c. Rs. 20, 00, 000

d. None of the above

Reason: Since there are equal bequests made to Putri, she is entitled to only one.

2. How much does Patni get?

a. Rs. 10, 00, 000

b. Rs. 5, 00, 000

c. Rs.15, 00, 000

d. None of the above

Reason: Since there are unequal bequests made to Patni, she is entitled to both.

3. On 14.1.2009, the family blue ambassador was sold for Rs. 1, 50, 000. What does Putra get on his father’s death under the will?

a. Nothing, the car has been sold and hence this part of the will not take effect.

b. He will get Rs. 1, 50, 000 for that was what was recovered upon its sale.

c. He should get the equivalent of the market price of the car from his father’s estate.

d. None of the above.

Reason: The car has been sold meaning it is not in existence any more.

4. Who gets the site in Mysore?

a. Yuvaraja

b. Yuvarani

c. Both

d. Neither

Reason: When inconsistent bequests are made, the last one will prevail.

This note has been prepared by Sahana Manjesh, a 3rd year student at NLSIU, Bangalore.

Images from here and here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

IDIA Sensitisation Session and Aptitude Test at Loreto Day School, Sealdah (West Bengal)

The sensitization process at Loreto Day School, Sealdah stretched over a week. On the first day, 5 students of NUJS, Diptoshree, Radhika, Jhalak, Shruti and Suman visited the school to speak to the students about law as a career option and the benefits of studying at a national law school. Diptoshree began by posing some common quiz questions involving famous personalities. Then she asked them about the common link between all the answers: which was that they were all lawyers, who contributed to society in various ways.

She then went ahead to explain the purpose of our visit and the evolution of law as a career in India. She elaborated on the setting up of national law schools and the purpose they serve. Further, all information about a 5 year law course at different national law schools and CLAT was given, with a brief mentioning of the broad areas that are tested.

Radhika took example of Barack Obama to elucidate what lawyers can do for society and how some of them become very famous. Students seemed very enthusiastic about law after the session and the teacher later informed us that all those who attended the sensitization process also wanted to appear for the aptitude test which was to be conducted during the following week. They were especially astounded after hearing about the salaries that law school graduates receive.

46 students appeared for aptitude test conducted at Loreto day school. They asked many questions pertaining to the test and about law as a career prospect. Some of their questions (pertaining to the student profile section of the question paper) were:

• What external sources of parental income needs to be mentioned as monthly income on the test paper? Was it compulsory to mention it?

• Why was parents’ fluency in English required?

• What did ‘Legal profession’ mean?

The students were given one hour to complete the test. However, since they struggled to finish by an hour, they were given another 10 minutes extra time.

After that was the feedback session about the test. Majority said that the test was very confusing, though not particularly difficult. They found the test to be quite lengthy. Logical reasoning was confusing for most however, it was also the most interesting section according to them. Relations and directions were the easiest for many.

Parajumbles were difficult for almost all students. Legal reasoning also confused many of the students. The students had difficulty in applying the principles to the facts. All found the english comprehensions very easy to solve. Saurabh and Avisha solved two of the questions on ‘coding-decoding’ to demonstrate how to solve it.

When asked if the information given to them regarding law as a prospective career convinced their parents, most said yes. Some said their parents were already quite supportive and encouraging about pursuing law as a career. Some however, had not spoken to their parents about pursuing law as yet.

After the results were declared, most of the highest scorers turned out to be from the higher and middle income group and therefore, did not need any scholarship for studying law. The IDIA team decided to simply refer them to IMS, where they can receive training for CLAT after payment of requisite charges. 4 students from lower income group were selected for scholarship. Two of them belonged to SC category and one was from a minority community.

The IDIA team will be visiting the school again, for verification of the income level of selected students from salary statement of parents. They will engage in a counseling session with the parents to confirm their permission for their wards to study law.

Report prepared by Diptoshree.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

IDIA Sensitisation Program in Calicut

In an initiative to expand its operations to northern Kerala, the IDIA began its sensitisation program in Calicut. Sensitization sessions and aptitude tests were conducted at Government Higher Secondary School, Mavoor, Calicut and Rahmaniya Higher Secondary School, Medical College on 7.8.2010. Calicut Co-coordinator of IDIA, Adithya Raj along with an IDIA team consisting of Anna, Sarath and Nithin conducted the programme.

The sensitization session at Government Higher Secondary School, Mavoor commenced at about 11 A.M. 51 students from humanities and commerce stream of the 12 standard attended the programme. Firstly, an interactive session was conducted. As usual, students had a very bleak idea about law as a career option. Law was still perceived as a course for those interested in pursuing a career of a practicing advocate. Law as a career option found favour only with a handful of students and none had even heard of National Law Schools and the varied prospects available to a graduate from such premier law schools. The team therefore had to elucidate about the National Law Schools and the advantages of graduating from the National Law Schools and other prestigious law colleges in the country. The session was boosted with a power point presentation which exposed the need of National Law Schools and the main objective behind the IDIA program.

This was followed by a question and answer session during which the team could clear many doubts about law as a career and correct the umpteen pre conceived notions prevailing among students with respect to law as a career option. This also helped the team gauge the ignorance in this regard prevailing in a literate state like Kerala.The interactive session was followed by Aptitude test. 21 students took the test. The test lasted for 45 minutes. The session was wound up by 1 PM.

The next session was held at Rahmaniya Higher Secondary School, Medical College, Calicut. The programme started at 2.00pm. More than 50 students from the 12th standard batch of Humanities, Commerce and Science stream attended the session. The popularity of law as a career option and the initial response of the students was the same as elsewhere. As usual, it took the volunteers some time to convince the students about the advantages allied with a law graduate passing out from a premier law college.The interactive session lasted for about 1 hour. Subsequently, the aptitude test was conducted. All the students took the test. The test lasted for 45 minutes and the programme was concluded by 4.00.

The ignorance of advantages of law as a career option in supposedly most literate state of the country, underlines the need for more initiatives like IDIA. IDIA Kerala sincerely hopes to bring about a change in the current situation when it moves to the next phase. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

IDIA Training Program at NUJS For Students From Pelling

The training session conducted at NUJS from the 6th-9th of July, 2010 marked the commencement of the second round of training that would be given to students selected through the aptitude test that IDIA volunteers are conducting in different schools in rural and distant areas. The first such training session of the IDIA project started on the 6th of July, 2010 and completed on the 9th of July. Eight students who were selected by the aptitude test in their school in Pelling had come to NUJS campus for contact classes accompanied by one of their teachers. The training classes for them were also held at the IMS centre in Calcutta.

The centre head of IMS Kolkata Mr Ajay Sharma congratulated the students on being selected in the aptitude test and wished them luck for their CLAT preparation. The training session at IMS was conducted by Mr Rajneesh Singh, the national product manager at IMS. The students were asked about their reasons behind choosing law as a career option. The students did not seem to be very confident about the answer. Some, for obvious reasons, equated study of law with deliverance of justice but there was also a student who candidly replied “Pots and pots of money.”

Rajneesh Singh assured the students all help in the form of online supplements and answering queries speedily via email or social networking sites such as Orkut. IMS had earlier provided these students with all their study materials and he emphasised on the need of studying the materials thoroughly.

Rajneesh helped the students getting acquainted with all the major law schools in the country and their respective entrance tests like CLAT, SET, etc. He also went into the detail of the past year question papers of CLAT. He also gave them a few tips about the strategy on how to attempt the question paper and also to what extent they should give importance to a particular subject.

The faculty who imparted training to these students were a mix of NUJS students and professional trainers. While Rajneesh taught Mathematics, Ramanuj, Rukmini, Jenisha and Shamnad taught English, Legal Aptitude was taught by Bhavin Patel.


Rajneesh started the class with discussing about the methodologies of studying with respect to different subjects. He started off with Mathematics. He realized the students’ apprehensions about the subject itself and assured them repeatedly that it can be the most scoring section among all the other sections if attempted with a definite strategy. The basic concepts of mensuration, arithmetic and algebra were revised. It was repeatedly emphasized that stress should be given on answering the questions correctly rather than getting a substantial portion of the questions wrong. He also discussed about the patterns of problems that could be asked and also the subsections that require more importance. Initially students’ response was slow but they gradually picked up the pace.

The lesson mostly involved discussion of the short cut methods that will help in saving time during the entrance test. As short cut methods were shown, responses started improving. Once the concepts were explained and revised, the students were given questions to solve. The main focus was on formulas, short-cuts and striking out options. He later taught them topics like time and work, time distance and speed, average. The students were asked to follow the Basic Reference Material from IMS while practicing.


The first topic to be taken up in English was Reading Comprehension. It was realized during the lesson that the students are considerably weak in vocabulary. The exercise was started by some high frequency words which they were unable to answer satisfactorily. On noting this weakness, it was suggested that they read one newspaper extensively as that will serve both the purpose of English and General Knowledge.

The students were also given an op-ed article to read and understand the arguments that the author tried to make in that article. This class was conducted by Ramanuj Mukherjee and Prof. Shamnad Basheer. The objective of the lesson was to teach the effective methods of reading so that it yields maximum output in terms of culling out points that are important and relevant and the ability to chuck out useless information. The task of the students was to locate important points from the article and spot the central idea. Needless to say, that, they were not very successful in the first attempt but they gradually grasped the principles. The different elements that are present in a write-up were discussed. The main focus was on the simple questions- What to read, How to read, How to remember, How to use. Seeing that the response coming from the students is moderate, Prof. Basheer encouraged them. The students were advised to practice prioritizing in reading. They were urged to follow the arguments, counter arguments and the concepts. Stress was also given on vocabulary. The students were advised to write the important things down and then organize it well. They were expected to discuss the lessons among themselves as it will help in remembering. Prof. Basheer advised them to do group study.

English Grammar was taken up next by Jenisha Parikh and Rukmini Das and a rigorous training was imparted. Students were finding it difficult to even identify the parts of speeches but they were shy to speak out about their problem. The students were facing difficulty in solving the some very easy questions.

Seeing them struggle with the reading comprehension, another class was taken on the topic. A passage was taken from Times of India. Students were advised to decipher the meaning of an unknown word with respect to its context. Tips were given to them about intelligent reading (read along with contexts, headings and subheadings, identification of the tone). They were asked to prepare questions in mind while they are reading.

Logical Reasoning

The concepts of critical, deductive and analytical reasoning were taken up, discussed and cleared through examples. The students took time to understand the concepts.

General Knowledge

Regarding G.K. the students were told that questions on only current affairs will be coming. The students were given tips on extraction of relevant data for the purpose of CLAT from the newspaper.

Legal Aptitude

The legal reasoning class was taken by Mr. Bhavin Patel who himself graduated from NLSIU and was the Chief Legal Aptitude faculty at LST. He started the class by asking the students’ purpose behind attending these sessions. The answers were very candid and ranged variedly from ‘to give justice’ to ‘earn pots of money’! Some were reticent and fumbled while answering. Bhavin plotted all the reasons provided by the student and tried to explain to them the feasibility of the options (reasoning, justice, money, fun). He tried to elicit response from the students asking them to think like laymen and logically arrive to a conclusion. Bhavin emphasized on the point of thinking logically. It is about training their minds to arrive to the conclusion step by step (breaking it down for simplification and also to arrive at the conclusion). They were not required to possess prior knowledge of law. The students took time to grasp the matter but gradually all were involved in the class. He explained them about the concept of justice.

• What is this thing which is loosely termed as justice?

• If the aggrieved party cannot win the suit will it still be called justice?

Bhavin charted the following course justice-court-parliament-constitution. All these were explained by method of simple reasoning and by pushing the arguments. In this method no prior knowledge of law is required. He provided some basic example of problems of legal reasoning (scalpel problem). The students were determining the problem on the basis of what they feel (mostly). While explaining the example he did not write down the options. In this way the students remembered only that answer which they thought was correct at the first go. Then he explained the basic principles in solving a legal reasoning problem. The students became very interested in the class. The problems discussed comprised of negligence, vicarious liability, trespass, contracts. They solved the tough problems at first and then moved on to easier ones. In the first question no one got the right answer but gradually more and more people started getting them right.

Inspiration & Fun

The Vice Chancellor of NUJS, Prof MP Singh visited during the session and vouched for his support behind the entire project. He emphasized on the fact that NUJS is keen on increasing the diversity. Prof Shamnad Basheer also spoke about how Prof Singh came from a small village called Jitholi near the UP border and how from that position he rose up to what he is today.

Other faculty members who came from far flung areas were also introduced to the students so that they could feel that even they have a chance of making it to the premier law schools.

In particular, the experiences of Assistant Professors Shameek Sen and Sarfaraz Ahmed Khan were truly inspiring.

The students were shown ‘Twelve Angry Men’ and were also taken around the city so that they do not miss out on the fun element while visiting Calcutta.

Even while teaching, Rajneesh held a Quiz to retain the students’ interest. The quiz proved to be a fresh respite for the students. Students were very enthusiastic and they responded very well. The quiz consisted of current affairs and static G.K. questions. One special mention has to be made- on being asked who is the prime minister of Japan, the answer came ‘Jackie Chan’! The quiz round consisted of identifying personalities, major events and current affairs.


The students need to put in loads of effort in English and especially grammar. It should be seen that grammar is taught along with some fun. The students need to practice Maths from the study materials provided to them by IMS by using the short cut methods which Rajneesh has taught them. For vocabulary and current GK, the students need to read the newspapers daily. For Logical reasoning, immense practice is required so that students are clearly able to solve problems in deductive reasoning and critical reasoning. Possible help from the faculty will also be required. It has to be seen that the students are able to solve questions in a given time. Most of the students could not complete the paper in a mock exam that was conducted on the third day of the training. For this, proper strategies should be prepared.

Report prepared by Aditi Pal (2nd year, NUJS) and Shambo Nandy (3rd year, NUJS).

Sensitisation Programme at KISS, Bhubaneswar

The KIIT Law School Chapter of IDIA conducted a sensitisation programme at Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), Bhubaneswar on 3rdAugust, 2010. KISS is the world’s largest tribal residential school with a capacity of around 10,000 students. The students from KG to PG are given free education, accommodation and other amenities without any charges. Students in this institute basically come from the poorest of the poor families in the tribal villages of Orissa and other part of the country. This makes the institute the most obvious choice for selection of students for the project.

Group of four students of 3rd year from KLS, which included Ananya Anindita, Amartya Bag, Aditya Chanakya Boxipatra and Priyasa Patnaik approached the authorities for conducting the awareness and sensitisation programme. The authorities were very helpful and allowed us to interact with the students after hearing our wonderful project and proposal.

The programme started around 11.00 A.M. Mr. A.K. Nandan, one of the teachers in the institute assisted us to the Commerce section of class XII. We could interact with the commerce students (Class - XII) only, who were about 100 in number. The interactive session with the students of KISS was spearheaded by Mr. Aditya Chanakya Boxipatra and Ms. Ananya Anindita.

The majority of the class intended to join the banking sector after their graduation in commerce. The students barely had an idea of the stuffs that we were talking about. In fact they were ignorant of the basics as well. Due to their ignorance, we had to start from the very basics about the importance of law in our life and society. None of them have heard of NLUs or CLAT, nor do they have any idea of the opportunities after studying law other than the traditional knowledge of becoming a lawyer. Then we discussed about the national law schools, how they differ from the traditional law colleges. We also explained them about the pattern of CLAT exam and how hard it is to crack the CLAT. We explained them the objective of IDIA and how we would help them to get them into law schools.

The students were pretty interactive and enthusiastic and were highly interested as we continued to discuss with them about what law is and how law as a career option would indeed be a great choice. Although everyone replied positively when asked if they know English well, but the observation proved otherwise. We would like to mention that the students are not really comfortable in using English for communication purposes. Therefore, we are concerned whether a year's coaching would be enough for them. Apart from this, they need to be trained extensively in English for communication purposes.

At the end of the session, every student was keen on taking the aptitude test which is scheduled to be held in a few days. The session concluded after a long discussion of around two hours at about 1.00 PM.

Report Prepared by Amartya Bag and Ananya Anindita of KLS, Bhubaneswar

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

To Pelling With Love: CLAT Training Session at Pelling (Sikkim)

Pelling is a small town hidden in mountain ranges in the district of West Sikkim with an altitude of 6100 ft. Pelling is 115 km from the state capital Gangtok and about 135 km from Siliguri, the nearest railhead and airport. The nearest airport is Bagdogra airport.

Most of the people of Pelling are Buddhists and speak the Sikkimese language. The other languages spoken are Nepali, Hindi, and English. The population in the region has an eclectic mix of several tribes and ethnic groups. Due to lack of access, education, especially the vocational sort, has suffered in this region. The only senior secondary school in a 10 km radius is the Government School,

The IDIA team had earlier conducted a pilot project at Pelling. The project included a talk to on law, law as a career, CLAT and National Law Schools. The team also conducted an aptitude test to identify intelligent students having an aptitude for law.

This time the agenda was to visit the school again to kickstart the preparation for CLAT for these students, distribute necessary books, IMS study material and talk to their teachers to identify such persons who can continuously guide the students. Interestingly, some of the teachers possess LL.B. degrees, but in their own words, they had seldom encouraged their students to take up law as a career.

The main challenge was to teach the students to use the material given to them even in absence of physical presence of a teacher. If we can motivate the students sufficiently, and show them how they can prepare on their own, very good results can be expected. Our effort was also towards building an effective study group amongst these students so that they can learn from each other, and keep themselves motivated in the long run through cooperation.

It took us more than 24 hours to reach Pelling since the beginning of our journey in Kolkata, especially due to a few tricky land slides on the way. The next day we visited the school, met several teachers who expressed their approval of our efforts, and pledged to support it in future.

We gave a set of study material to the library so that it can be accessed by anyone interested in preparing for law entrances. We established contact with the identified students, and ensured that they gather the next morning for an intensive session. The school agreed to provide us with a classroom for this purpose. Several teacher attended the session as well.

After a short introduction by Shamnad sir, we familiarised the students with the CLAT questions, explained the task that they are facing, and took them through the 7 books (see the list here) that were given to them earlier, apart from the several modules in the IMS study material packet. The whole affair continued for a large part of the day. We would have liked to conduct a session on how to use the internet resources effectively, but due to time restraints (the students had their annual examination starting from the next day) we had to skip that.

We (From left to right: Ramanuj, Arnab, Prof. Shamnad Basheer) gave the students certain milestones, things that they have to learn before they arrive at NUJS for the next session of training on 6th of July, 2010 for another 4 days of training. At this time, we shall conduct diagnostic tests to identify individual strengths and weaknesses so that we can help them improve.

Report prepared by Ramanuj Mukherjee (5th year student, NUJS).

Sunday, August 1, 2010

IDIA Sensitisation Program at Vimala Hridaya Girls HSS, Kollam

The Kollam chapter of the IDIA was taken forward with sensitization programme being held at Vimala Hridaya Girls HSS, Kollam on 31-7-2010. State Co-ordinator of IDIA, Raghul Sudheesh along with an IDIA team consisting of Asitha, Bijitha, Vishnu, Navaneet and Ananthu conducted the sensitization program.

The program started at about 10:00 in the morning. The 12th standard batch of the Humanities and Commerce stream took part in the program. Mr. Raghul Sudheesh and Miss. Asitha spearheaded the interactive session with the students. The lack of popularity of law as a career was manifest from the response of the students. The conventional belief that profession of law meant court and court practice seemed to be rooted in the minds of most present.  The volunteers therefore had to convince the student about the diverse opportunities available to a law graduate.         

As the session moved on students began to evince greater interest in the topic and a fruitful interactive session followed. Soon umpteen questions were put forth by them pertaining to the scope of law, the term of the course, the scope of law as a career etc.  The session underlined the need for senitisation from ground zero as the ignorance about law as a career option was blatantly manifest. After the session the number of law aspirants who were just two at the initial stage increased to 12.The session lasted for about two hours and concluded at about 12:00.

Report prepared by Ananthu B and Murali Krishnan

IDIA Sensitisation Program at Sree Narayana HSS, Cochin

IDIA Cochin Chapter initiated its activities in Ernakulam on 31-7-2010. The much awaited sensitization session of IDIA took place at Sree Narayana Higher Secondary School, Ayyappankavu between 1.30 PM and 2.15 PM. The team which conducted the session consisted of Aiswarya, Rinie, Parvathi, Boaz, Reshma and Anupama. The fourty five minute long session was held for two classes, one consisting of students belonging to humanities stream and the other of commerce stream.

We started off by asking how many of them were interested in taking up law as their career.  To our disappointment, only 3 to 4 hands went up and as usual, they too were ignorant about law schools and the varied career prospects of law. Hence we had to start from the scratch. We began by enlightening them about the various prospects of law.  Then we explained about law schools, law colleges and other law institutes and their differences. We also elucidated the difficulties for gaining an entry into National Law Schools. Then we dwelt upon the purpose of IDIA and how IDIA could make legal education accessible to meritorious candidates.

Soon the session became more interactive and informal as the students put forward many doubts. At the end of the session, we put forth the same question that we had asked them in the beginning i.e. how many were actually interested in taking up law. To our surprise and joy, there was a considerable increase in the number of hands that had gone up. Moreover, 10 out of 40 commerce students and 30 out of the 50 humanities students were keen on taking the aptitude test. 

Report prepared by Anupama S. and Murali Krishnan

IDIA Sensitisation Program @Raghudevpur Shadharoner Vidyalaya For Girls, Howrah

The trip made to the school Raghudevpur Shadharoner Vidyalaya for girls Howrah, West Bengal proved to be quite an educating experience for the IDIA team from NUJS. The IDIA team consisting of NUJS students Arnab (5th yr), Diptoshree(4th yr), Ramanuj(4th yr), Radhika(4th yr), Adreeka (2nd yr), Aditi(1st yr) accompanied by Mr. Shameek Sen, faculty at NUJS, conducted this sensitization program.

The students in the school primarily hailed from lower income group. During the entire course of the session, the school authorities were extremely helpful and accommodating. The inputs received from the teacher seconded the obvious apprehension of the team about the lack of awareness about law as a career amongst students in small towns, rural areas and other non-affluent backgrounds.

The students who participated in the session were from XIth and XIIth standard. The team realized from the beginning of the session that the school students had little idea about law as a career. Though they had heard of the 3 year course but they did not have any idea about the 5 year integrated course a National Law University offers.

The team started the session with the question, whether any of them had considered the legal profession as a career option and, literally, none seemed interested. We explained them about what lawyers do and the diverse options one has after doing law. They were told about the various universities where one can pursue law and the advantage of pursuing it at one of the ten National Law schools in terms of better quality of education, infrastructure and recruitment.

The students were informed about the high pay packages given to students from law schools and campus placement. The presenters- Ramanuj and Diptoshree, recounted their personal experiences of choosing law over other professional streams. After the presentation it appeared to them a good idea as it posed law as a viable career option as opposed to last resort. It was noticed during the course of the session that the most important consideration for these students seemed to be social justice as well as economic stability for themselves.

The students hailed from impoverished background. One of their major concerns was regarding the financial assistance they may be provided. Most of them lacked the means for pursuing further education leave alone higher education. Inspite of all the possible financial hindrances that may arise in future, some were ambitious. But the irony is, though they aimed to study medical or engineering (which are also expensive), no one mentioned law. This clearly indicated towards lack of awareness as a primary reason behind the absence of students from economically poor backgrounds in the National Law Universities.

To assess the student’s aptitude for law, an aptitude test was taken which was largely based on Logical Reasoning, General Knowledge, English, Legal Reasoning and Mathematics. The question paper was deliberately drafted in vernacular and only the GK section was in English. The aim of the aptitude test was to identify those students with the aptitude required for law and the ability needed to crack the Common Law Admission Test. They will be provided free and intensive training for CLAT. Then a list of top scorers was prepared and the students were selected on the basis of the aptitude test’s result, their financial background and general academic performance.

The team was quite heartened to see that they were successful in encouraging even those students who did not fare well in the test but still were inclined to consider law as a career option.