'Reshape legal education model to make empathy a core value: CJI DY Chandrachud on student suicides

The CJI said that educational institutions should not only limit themselves for promoting competition but also aid students in shaping their outlook towards life with empathy as crucial element. 

Published: 25th February 2023 06:53 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th February 2023 06:53 PM   |  A+A-

Chief Justice of India, CJI, DY Chandrachud

Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Expressing concern with regards to increase in the incidents of suicides of students from marginalized communities, CJI DY Chandrachud on Saturday urged educational institutions to reshape legal education model to make empathy a core value of our legal system.

He said that educational institutions should not only limit themselves for promoting competition but also aid students in shaping their outlook towards life with empathy as crucial element. 

Delivering the convocation address at NALSAR, he said that lack of empathy has adverse effects on students and when students leave their homes, it becomes the responsibility of educational institutions to establish a bond of institutional friendship with the students.

“Lack of empathy in educational institutions has adverse effects on students. I have been emphasizing on the mental health of lawyers, but equally important is the mental health of students. Not only must our educational curriculum inculcate a sense of compassion among students, but the academic leaders must also be sensitive to the concerns of students," CJI DY Chandrachud said

"When students leave their home, it becomes the responsibility of educational institutions to establish a bond of institutional friendship with the students. In our educational institutions, we tend to focus a lot on excellence. We are taught that our lives can be better only if we excel in our studies or professional life. However, education can only be complete, if we nurture the values of empathy and compassion. Our educational institutions must not limit themselves to promoting competition among students, but also shape their outlook towards life, where empathy is a crucial element. Excellence cannot go without empathy,” he added. 

Referring to the incident of suicide of a Dalit student at IIT Bombay and also recalling another incident of suicide of an Adivasi student in National Law University, Odissa last year, CJI DY Chandrachud said that one of the most noted senior educationalist in the country, Sukhadeo Thorat had noted that if almost all those who have died by suicide in particular situations are Dalits and Adivasis, then it shows a pattern, which we must question.

He also said that issue of discrimination is directly linked with the lack of empathy in institutions and practicing empathy requires institutional changes.

“Promoting empathy must be the first step which educational institutions ought to take. Nurturing empathy can end the culture of eliteness and exclusion. This can be done by starting with small steps. Allotment of hostels based on entrance marks which leads to caste-based segregation, putting out a public list of marks along with social categories, asking for the marks of Dalit and Adivasi students publicly to humiliate them, making a mockery of their English and physical appearance, stigmatising them as inefficient, not acting on incidents of abuses and bullying, not providing a support system, or reducing or stopping their fellowships, normalising stereotypes through jokes are some of the basic things which every educational institution must stop. In other words, practicing empathy requires institutional changes,” he said. 

Laying emphasis on the fact that NLUs have been struggling to be accessible to a wide section of society and concerns are being raised about the entrance exam pattern of NLUs he said that law universities and governments need to work together on the same to ensure financial accessibility.

“Therefore, the outlook of legal education must be to improve the quality of law colleges across the country, and not just a few institutions. Further, the sense of entitlement that NLUs are better than other institutions leads to unnecessary wastage of energy. Instead, NLUs should be leaders in the field of legal education, which could help other smaller law colleges grow academically. NLUs ought not to work in a field of isolation. Law students studying in NLUs must not look down upon their counterparts from other law schools. After all, the legal profession is such that we are constantly learning and teaching each other,” he also said. 

CJI further stressed on the increasing use of technology to not only increase access to justice but also to take it as an opportunity to make the judicial system an epitome of transparency. 



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp