January 27, 2020

Dr. N.R. Madhava Menon – Father of modern legal education in India awarded Padma Bhushan posthumously

[ by Legal Era News Network ]


Prof. (Dr.) N.R. Madhava Menon has been conferred with the Padma Bhushan posthumously for his contribution to the Indian legal education system. He passed away on May 8, 2019. He had been earlier awarded the Padma Shri in 2003 for distinguished public services.

Prof. (Dr.) N.R. Madhava Menon is the architect of the five-year integrated L.L.B. Course and successfully implemented it at the National Law School, Bangalore and National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata.

Born in 1935, Dr. N.R. Madhava Menon had his education (B.Sc. and B.L.) from Kerala University, did LL.M. and Ph.D. from Aligarh Muslim University and M.A. from Punjab University. He got enrolled as an Advocate in Kerala High Court in 1956 at the early age of 20. Dr. Menon left active legal practice and joined the faculty of Aligarh Muslim University in 1960 where he continued his teaching and research till 1965.

In 1986 on the invitation of the Bar Council of India, Dr. Menon moved to Bangalore to set up the National Law School of India University and to initiate a new model of legal education, the Five Year Integrated LL.B. programme. He served NLSIU as its Founding Vice-Chancellor for 12 years. The success of the Bangalore model persuaded the West Bengal Government to invite Dr. Menon to establish a similar law school in Kolkata. From 1998 to 2003, he served as the Founder Vice-Chancellor of the National University of Juridical Sciences from where the Supreme Court sought his services to set up the National Judicial Academy at Bhopal. He was the Founder- Director of National Judicial Academy at Bhopal.

Dr. Menon was also involved in institutionalizing continuing legal education and has held important positions such as the International Bar Association Chair Professorship on the subject at NLSIU, Bangalore.

He had once mentioned in an interview with Legal Era that “Putting Indian legal education at par with the best institutions of its kind elsewhere in the world was my ambition as a law teacher.”

In 2009, SILF decided to institute an Annual Best Law Teacher Award in Dr. Menon’s name consisting of Rupees One Lakh, a plaque of honour, and a citation to a distinguished law teacher from the SAARC region selected by a jury headed by the former Chief Justice of India. Since then, every year the “Prof. N.R. Madhava Menon Best Law Teacher Award” is conferred on law teachers in gala events organized jointly by Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF) and the Menon Institute of Legal Advocacy Training (MILAT).

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