Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College, Chennai

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Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College
Inside madras law college old building, Sep 2013.jpg
Motto Fiat justitia ruat caelum
("Let justice be done though the heavens fall.")
Established 1891
Type Government Law College
Parent institution

1891-1996: University of Madras

1996-present: Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University
Students 562
Location Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Nickname AGLC
Website http://www.draglc.ac.in/

Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College (often referred to as Government Law College or GLC,Chennai) is a law college, located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, established in 1891. It was formerly known as Madras Law College. It is a prestigious institution that produced several legal luminaries of the 20th century. But today it stands neglected due to lack of funds and the arrival of many other law schools. On 1990, it was renamed by the Government of Tamil Nadu in commemoration of the birth centenary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, The great intellectual, The father of Indian constitution, social revolutionary, and a champion of depressed classes (Dalits) . Since 1997, It has been affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, splitting from the University of Madras.


The Legal Education in Tamil Nadu has a long and interesting history. Mr. George Norton was the first to conceive the idea of Legal education in Madras. The genesis of Legal Education can be traced to the informal law classes conducted by him in his house in the form of conversations in the early 19th century. In 1852 at the direction of the Governor, Sir Henry Pottinger, a Government High School was expanded into the Presidency College, Chennai.

Mr.John Bruce Norton who was appointed as the first Professor of law in 1855, delivered his lectures at the Presidency College, Chennai. Till 1884, there was only one Professor of Law in the Presidency College, Chennai. In order to supplement lectures by tutorials, a second Professor was appointed in 1884. To him was entrusted the tutorial work. The Scheme was put on trial for two years. Since it proved a success, it was continued for two more years from 1 January 1886.

Mr.H.B. Grigg, the Director of Public Instruction evinced keen interest in improving the status of the legal education. He sent a proposal to the Government for setting up a Central Law College in Madras. The Government concurred with the conclusion of the Director of Public Instruction that changes were necessary in the arrangements for Law Instruction and that an independent institution should be established.

In 1885 Mr. Justice T. Muthuswamy Iyer gave his warm support to the proposal. The establishment of the Law College as an independent institution under the control of the Director of Public instruction was sanctioned by the Secretary of State, on the advice of the Council of Legal Studies (Education) in London. Mr. Reginald, A. Nelson, the first Principal, entered upon his duties on 2 May 1891.

Thus the Law College came into existence. For seven and a half years after birth it had no habitation of its own and the College was housed at the Senate House of the University of Madras. A project to place the new institution as near the High Court as possible led to the selection of a site for erecting a structure to the west of the High Court building. The present building of the Law College was designed by Mr.Henry Irwin, the Government Architect. The Law College moved into this building on 9 January 1899. As a natural consequence of gaining a building of its own, the Law College was converted into a whole time institution. [1]

The Law College in Madras, c. 1905
Madras High Court and the Law College


At present, the admissions are made through Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University. It enrolls 562 students every year.


In the early seventies, the College was upgraded into a Post Graduate Institution with the introduction of M.L. Courses. It primarily offers 5 years integrated B.A.,B.L and 3 years B.G.L. Under-graduate programmes.

From 1973-74 the Tamil Language has also been made as a medium of instruction in Law as part of a Government Policy to introduce Tamil as Official Language at all levels in the State.

With a view to upgrading the standards of legal education, B.A.B.L., (Hons) course was initially introduced in the college from the academic year 2002-2003. But the same was shifted to the Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University with effect from the academic year 2006-2007.

The national level Moot Court competitions were conducted in DAGLC in 2010.


The Madras Law College Campus is located inside the High-Court of Madras. It contains many Heritage structures and Tombs. The Madras Law College is a classic example of Indo-Saracenic Architectural style. It was built by English architects Robert Fellowes Chisholm and Henry Irwin. Many South-Indian movies usually portray the Law college as court halls where the court scenes are involved.

David Yale and Thomas Tomb


The Diamond Jubilee of Madras Law College was celebrated on 14 March 1952.[2] P. V. Rajamannar, the first Indian to become the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, presided over the function.

List of Principals[edit]

1891-1913: R.A. Nelson
1913-1927: Arthur Davies
1928-1929: M. Rathnaswami
1930-1949: K. Krishna Menon
1949-1952: S. Govindarajulu Naidu

1967-1968: A.Palaniswami

1974-1978: C. Rajaraman
1978-1983: Master Sankaran
1983-1995: T. Audiseshan
1995-1997: S.Narayanaswamy

2002-2004: Dr. G.C. Kothandan
2004-2005: Dr.G.P.Godhana Gandhi
2005-2006: C.Robin
2006-2008: Dr. J.Jayamani
2008-2011: M. Mohamed Iqbal
2011-2012: K. Balaji Naidu
2012-2013: Dr. S.Narayanaperumal
Present: Dr.N.S.Santhosh Kumar

Notable alumni[edit]

Chief Justices[edit]


Lawyers and others[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ History of the College, Official Website.
  2. ^ dated 15 March 1952: Law and Life, The Hindu. Friday, 15 Mar 2002
  3. ^ Justice Sathasivam first judge from Tamil Nadu to become CJI, The Hindu. 29 June 2013
  4. ^ Karpagavinayagam to be Chief Justice of Jharkhand, The Hindu. 13 September 2006
  5. ^ REDDY, SHRI KOTLA VIJAYA BHASKARA, Parliament of India Biographical Sketch
  6. ^ A fitting tribute to son of the soil, The Hindu. 14 April 2007
  7. ^ An outspoken Vice-Chancellor, The Hindu. 24 July 2006
  8. ^ Senior lawyer passes away, The Hindu. 17 September 2012
  9. ^ Legal luminary N. Arunachalam's birth centenary today, The Hindu. 18 November 2011
  10. ^ [1] The Hindu. 29 May 2006

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 13°5′15.17″N 80°17′8.27″E / 13.0875472°N 80.2856306°E / 13.0875472; 80.2856306