Stripped Law Exclusive: Report of the first GNLU Review Commission


We are extracting below the important observations made in the Report of the First GNLU Review Commission for Stripped Law readers. The full report is available for download below.


1.       The Commission met and interacted with students. The students enthusiastically welcomed the initiative and agreed to consult their friends in their respective classes and gather suggestions for submission to the Commission. Some of them submitted a voluminous memorandum of facts and opinions on which the Commission did interact with them as well as with the members of the teaching staff.

2.       Regulation No.8 (dealing with Search Committee) has Clause (4) which states, the Executive Council may also recommend the name of a person other than those recommended by the Search Committee, if it has reason to believe that such other person is having regard to the interests of the university suitable to the post of the Director.

This clause (4), in effect, nullifies the recommendations of the Search Committee and tends to defeat the very purpose of a search by an expert group. Further it provides for the appointment of a person whose name may not have been found fit by the Search Committee, or even rejected by the Search Committee.  This provision – Clause (4) – in fact, makes a mockery of the provision for a Search Committee.

The Commission is of the view that the Government needs to review the provision in the best interests of the institution. It is submitted that this clause (4) be omitted and to ensure transparency in the appointment of the Director, such appointment should be made only from amongst the panel of three persons recommended by the Search Committee. In case the appointing authority finds difficulty to accept any of the three names, let it ask for a fresh panel from the search committee. This is what is being done in appointment of heads of institutions to ensure credibility, transparency and respect for the office.

3.       As the Registrar is the head of the administrative and ministerial staff of the university and the principal officer responsible on all matters pertaining to the administration of the university, it is desirable to appoint a regular whole time Registrar and put an end to the present practice of appointing an officiating Registrar by the Director from amongst the teaching staff of the university.

4.   The university is functioning through its various committees, each having a definite mandate and each contributing to the management of the affairs of the University.

As there are no Professors, these committees are headed by Associate/Asst. Professors, necessarily lacking the requisite experience in the matters concerned. Lack of guidance by senior teachers in these committees adversely affects the functioning of the university.  Many of these committees deal with important academic matters where junior staff members lacking experience of taking decisions manage the affairs just to keep things functioning. This is a sad situation which needs correction.

5.       Appointment of experienced Professors to lead and guide various academic and administrative activities is highly desirable in the interests of the overall development of the university.

6.       It is submitted that an effective grievances redressal mechanism need to be set up, or the existing arrangement revamped, so as to inspire confidence amongst the students and the teachers, that their concerns will be effectively addressed by the administration.


7.       Effective steps may be initiated to set up a Students Bar Association or a Representative Council and a Faculty Consultative Council so as to provide constructive outlet to ventilate the aspirations of the students and teachers.


8.       The idea of giving liberal scholarships and fee exemptions to deserving students admitted on merit is a good policy and deserves to be continued and expanded.  The principle of equity and inclusiveness which is a national norm in higher education has to be endorsed and encouraged.

Given the reservations in student admission, there is need for the university to identify early those who need additional help to be able to cope up with the high demands of study at GNLU.  Special coaching, mentorship and individual guidance by senior teachers in the first or second semesters would certainly help the weak students to cope up with the high demands of legal studies.  Repeat examinations have to be discouraged as it tends to stigmatize and take away attention from their studies.

9.       A world class university should be able to dispense with attendance requirement in course of time by motivating everyone voluntarily to participate in learning.  Learning is seriously impaired in an atmosphere of mistrust between the teachers and students.  GNLU needs to take these issues seriously and work out strategies in consultation with students to ensure voluntary obedience to the rules and regulations of the University.

10.   Many applicants for teaching positions are just looking for an employment.  They have no experience in the theory or practice of teaching as that is not part of the LL.M. curriculum or NET programme.  Some of them have false notions of teaching from the way they themselves have been taught with the result they don’t even care to learn better teaching techniques.  Given this situation, the university has no option but to prepare their own teachers through an year long well-organized Teaching Fellowship Programme.

11.   It appears from responses received from teachers that there is not adequate communication between the Director and members of the Faculty.  They seem to be aggrieved of academic decisions being taken unilaterally without consultation, seminars being organized without an institutional purpose, non-academic activities being imposed without consultation and grievances are not promptly and properly addressed to create a conducive environment for collectively taking the university forward.  Without taking sides on the issue, the Commission would suggest the authorities to follow a policy of consultative decision making on academic matters through weekly or fortnightly Faculty meetings and recording and circulating the minutes for action by all concerned including the Director.


12.   Already teachers are grudging that they are being compelled to stay on the campus for eight hours a day which they consider to be violative of UGC rules!!  There is need for change of this attitude and teachers should voluntarily stay in the accommodation provided by the university.  The Director should himself stay in the campus.  If sufficient accommodation is not available yet in the campus for all its teachers, the authorities must consider buying or hiring a group of flats in the nearby apartment clusters and making them available to teachers free of rent.

13.   Number of training programmes is being organized from time to time depending upon requests from other agencies.  The Resource Persons are invited from outside GNLU.  How does it help GNLU in its mandate when it is not able to enrich its intellectual or material resources.  It is recommended that GNLU may consider establishing an Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) in view of the felt need and demand for CLE among the legal profession and law teaching community.

14.   To be able to develop a work culture of devotion to scholarship, endeavour to do things better and commitment to academic values, the senior faculty has responsibilities to perform. This work culture is not the product of laws and regulations or rewards and punishments alone. They develop through taking everybody into confidence in ‘decision making’, adopting best practices from elsewhere, developing powers and functions to functionaries at all levels and projecting a common vision carefully crafted. This is not to say that these are absent in GNLU, but only to emphasise their importance when one aspires to become world class in a highly competitive environment.


15.   GNLU reportedly functions through Committees. Are the committees democratically constituted? Are they given clear mandate, independent authority, and accountability? What is the relationship between the Committee and the Director? How the Committees’ functioning is co-ordinated, audited and assessed? The management culture reflects on academic quality and efficiency of every educational institution.

There are complaints the faculty raised in the constitution and functioning of the Committee system at GNLU. The Commission would only appeal to the authorities including the Director to have a close look at the system and see where corrections are needed to make their functioning smooth, productive and consultative.

16.   Public relations is part of legitimate image building of an institution. But when it is overdone it boomerangs particularly when the internal structures and processes are weak, and if there is even a modicum of discontent among the staff or students. Promising more than one can offer through prospectus, advertisements and leaflets should be eschewed. The policy should be to let the programmes speak for itself. This is not to say that GNLU is guilty of it but to empazise a point. After all, for an institution which is still in its infancy, one cannot expect miracles to happen in an environment where academic institutions or even long standing are finding difficult to innovate, experiment and change styles of teaching/learning.

17.   During the Commission’s interaction with students it was revealed that there are communication gaps between the students and the administration and there are apprehension of victimisation if they take up their grievances. Even a section of Faculty complained of actions “demeaning the honour of faculty”, too many seminars and training programmes unrelated to faculty/student interests and “conducted for name sake”, appointment of unqualified and inexperienced wardens in hostels etc.

Apparently, the system of grievance redressal is not functioning effectively and there is some amount of suppressed feelings both among faculty and students unrecognised by the administration. The Commission has not probed the problem further to be able to pass any judgment on the issue; but we want to flag the issue that there is some amount of simmering discontent which need to be addressed by the administration in the best interest of the institution.

18.   The University spends over Rupees Twelve crores every year to run the institution. The Government has spent nearly 150 crores of rupees to develop the infra-structure. In return for such investments, the University is now able to give education for a total of about 1200 law students each year. The per capita expenditure is fairly high compared to the expenditure on legal education elsewhere in the State. 76% of the expenditure is recovered as student fees. This can be justified only in terms of high quality education offered comparable to the best in the circumstances. In other words, GNLU may sooner or later will be confronted with the issue of quality of instruction in relation to the quantity of fees collected. Public may ask whether the society is getting due return for the investment of tax payers’ money particularly when graduates tend to migrate to the private corporate sector. GNLU now tries to offset such criticism by way of offering a variety of services to corporates, Governments, sister institutions and civil society. All these need to be constantly reviewed to justify the liberal investment Government has made on the institution.




GNLU Review Commission Report by Raghul Sudheesh

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The findings of the first Review Commission (Commission) constituted to examine the working of the Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar (GNLU ) have recently been made available online. Source of information

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