Reported by Padma Venkataraman. Written by Sweta Venkatesan.
The morning of 30th August, 2015 was a memorable one for the NLU Delhi family- it marked the annual convocation of the third batch of this University.
Gracing the occasion with his presence was Shri Arun Jaitley, the Hon’ble Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information and Broadcasting, and the Chief Guest of the convocation. Our Hon’ble Chancellor and Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Justice G. Rohini, was also present to bless the students and wish them well.
The programme was scheduled for 11:00 AM, and took place in the auditorium. Students assembled in the auditorium much before time, and dressed in formals to mark the occasion. At 10:55 AM, the dignitaries, comprising our Hon’ble Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, the Chief Guest, Mr. Arun Jaitley along with judges of the Supreme Court and faculty members, made their way to the dais, with “Saare Jahaan se Accha” playing in the background, aptly marking the solemnity of the occasion.
Our Hon’ble Chancellor, Justice G. Rohini then declared the convocation open, to much applause from the audience.
The Vice Chancellor, Dr. Ranbir Singh then proceeded to address the students and parents assembled in the auditorium, taking them back to the glorious days of the freedom struggle to remind them of the prominent role played by lawyers in bringing about a change in society. He elaborated on the evolution of law and legal education, particularly in the last two decades, and pointed out how the establishment of national law schools during this period bolstered quality education and inspired students to join law school “by choice, and not by chance.” Although most national law schools were established a decade or two ago, he said, NLU Delhi had managed to effectively compete with them and climb the ladder to success in a mere six years, and the credit for this went to the excellent faculty and dedicated students who made this institute what it is today. In furtherance of this point, he gave the example of Aisha Jain, the youngest student to crack the IAS, and an alumnus of NLU Delhi. He encouraged the students to follow in her footsteps and achieve success in all their endeavours. He also spoke on the general state of legal education, noting that it was lacking in several aspects, and challenged the government to step up its game and focus on legal education itself.
Following the Vice Chancellor’s address, the Hon’ble Chancellor proceeded to administer the oath to the students of the Ph.D, LLM and BA.LLB (Hons) before conferring them with their respective degrees and medals. A few mentions include:
Punya Varma, BA. LLB (Hons.) – Three medals for performance in Constitutional Law, and one medal each for performance in Criminal Law and Public Law respectively.
Sarvatrajit Singh, BA. LLB (Hons.) – One medal each for performance in ADR, Banking Law and Negotiable Instruments.
Avantika Gupta, BA. LLB (Hons.) – One medal for performance in Corporate Law.
Vaibhav Tiwari, BA. LLB (Hons.) – One medal for International Trade Law.
Sanjeev Kumar S., BA. LLB (Hons.) – Medal for Taxation Law.
Neha Sharma, BA. LLB (Hons.) – Medal for Competition Law.
Following this, the medals for the first rank holder and the second rank holder of the batch of 2015 were given out to Punya Verma and Sarvatrajit Singh respectively. Students were also honoured with the coveted Vice Chancellor’s Medals in different categories:
- Medal for Overall Excellence: Sarvatrajit Singh
- Medal for the Best Student of the Year: Sarvatrajit Singh
- Medal for Best All Round Performance: Sanjeev Kumar
- Medal for Legal Aid and Community Outreach: Rishika Sahgal
- Medal for Best Outgoing Student: Chinmay Kanojia
- Medal for Best Male Student (LL.M): Harshal Negi
- Medal for Best Female Student (LL.M): Kanika Bavaa
- Medal for Best Male Student (BA.LLB): Pranshu Paul
- Medal for Best Female Student (BA.LLB): Tanima Tandon
The Vice Chancellor also issued a special medal for the students who had worked with the Death Penalty Research Project, taking cognizance of their efforts and hard work, and bestowed the medal upon 16 students.
The last leg of the convocation included a riveting speech by Shri Arun Jaitley. He began his address by saying that he had seen NLU Delhi emerge from its very beginning, and had been associated with the institute since the time that it was at its nascent stage. He said that most institutes recognised as centres of excellence today boasted of strong alumni networks, years of pedigree, and evolution over a long period of time. As a college, although NLU Delhi was new and could not claim all of these benefits, it prevented the lack of such factors from becoming a “handicap” and instead proved that with the guidance of an experienced Vice Chancellor, an enthusiastic faculty and ambitious students, that it was fully capable of becoming a top-class legal institution. He spoke of his time in college, and confessed that during those times, law was not a preferred course, and the quality of legal education prevalent was at best “average.” Litigation was largely restricted to the traditional domains of property disputes and there was little scope for the growth of law as a field. However, the game changer was the establishment of national law schools, which raised the bar for legal education and slowly but surely made law a desirable field for aspirants due to their quality education.
This upswing, however, has since acted as a double edged sword, he warned, since the world is now more competitive and cruel, and does not settle for mediocrity. He said that Darwin’s concept of the “Ssurvival of the fittest” was the most apt to describe the professional environment today. He cautioned students against the pitfalls of deviating from the “straight path”, and advised the students to take the straight path whenever they faced a problem in life, even if it was the longer one – for the shorter path led to short lived glory. He said that there were, in different professions, people with impeccable integrity and the “thugs”- and while both had their own roadmaps, there was only one road to success.
He ended his speech with a motivational message for the students, recognizing that India’s human resources potential was still largely untapped- and that the students of today would shape the India of tomorrow. He encouraged them to use their “brain bank” to make a difference. He concluded by saying that an institute could only be as good as its faculty and students, and given that, the roadmap for NLU Delhi ahead was “exciting” to say the least. His address was received with tremendous applause by parents and students alike.
After his speech, the Hon’ble Chancellor declared the Convocation closed.
The national anthem was then played, and the dignitaries proceeded to leave the dais as they came. Students from all batches left with smiles on their faces, imbibing the events of the morning, and reflecting on what had indeed been a momentous day.
(A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that the name of the winner of the Best Male Student (LL.M) was Harshit Negi. It has now been corrected to Harshal Negi.)