N. R. Madhava Menon

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N. R. Madhava Menon
Menonbig.jpg
Born May 4, 1935 (1935-05-04)
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Occupation Legal educator, lawyer
Years active since 1956
Known for Founding the National Law School of India University and West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences
Spouse(s) Rama Devi
Parents Ramakrishna Menon
Bhavani Amma
Awards Padma Shri
Living Legend of Law
Plaque of Honour
Rotary Club Award for Vocational Excellence

Neelakanta Ramakrishna Madhava Menon (born 4 May 1935) is an Indian legal educator, considered by many as the father of modern legal education in India.[1] He is the founder Director of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) and the National Judicial Academy, Bhopal and the founder Vice Chancellor of the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS).[2][3][4] Menon was honored by the Government of India, in 2003, with the fourth highest Indian civilian award of Padma Shri.[5]

Biography[edit]

Madhava Menon was born on 4 May 1935 at Thiruvananthapuram, in the South Indian state of Kerala in a Nair family to Bhavani Amma and Ramakrishna Menon as the fourth of their six children.[2] His father, a law graduate and a Revenue Officer working for the Travancore Corporation, died succumbing to a typhoid attack, when Menon was only two years old and he was brought up by his mother, with the assistance of her brothers and sisters. His mother took up a job as a clerk at Travancore Corporation to bring up Appu, as he was known at home, and his three elder sisters and one younger brother; one of his younger brothers died in childhood.[2]

Menon's schooling was at Sreemoolavilasam Government High School, Thiruvananthapuram from where he passed matriculation in 1949 and completed the Pre University course in 1950, when the erstwhile two year course was realigned as a truncated one year course. His graduate studies were at S. D. College, Alappuzha from where he passed BSc in Zoology in 1953.[6] He also passed the Hindi Visharad course conducted by the Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha simultaneously with his graduate studies.[2] He continued his studies at Government Law College, Ernakulam, but shifted to Government Law College, Thiruvananthapuram when the college was restarted in the capital city in 1953 and has been the Student Editor of the College magazine in 1954-55. He passed the law course (BL) in 1955.[2][6]

Career[edit]

Madava Menon started his career in 1955, as an apprentice to a locally known lawyer, V. Nagappan Nair, and assisted him for 13 months. The next year, in 1956, he registered at the High Court of Kerala, in Ernakulam, as a lawyer and started practice under advocate Poovanpallil Neelakandan Pillai at the district court in Thiruvananthapuram. One year later, Menon appeared for the Civil Services Examination but could get only a lower grade which made him eligible for a job at the Central Secretariat Service, in New Delhi. On the advice of his teacher and mentor, A. T. Markose, the first director of the Indian Law Institute and the author of Judicial Control of Administrative Action in India,[7] he took up the job at the secretatriat in New Delhi.[2]

While working at the secretariat, Menon continued his studies at Campus College located at Gole Market, affiliated to Punjab University and secured a post graduate degree (MA) in Political Science with distinction, in 1960. Afterwards, Menon joined Aligarh Muslim University for further studies in law and passed the masters degree in Law (LLM) and, obtaining a UGC scholarship, continued research on the topic, White Collar Crime. Teaching and doing part time job as the warden of the Sir Syed Hall at the university, he completed his research to obtain PhD in 1965, relocated to Delhi, and got married to Rema Devi, the same year.[2]

In 1968, Menon joined his alma mater, Aligarh Muslim University, as a professor. The subsequent move was again to University of Delhi as the Reader in the faculty of Law, and later as the professor of the department. During his stint there, he received a fullbright scholarship from the American Council of Learned Societies and had the opportunity to present a paper on "Legal Aid" at Berkeley, USA. He was a member of the Delhi University panel which liaised with univerisities from USA such as Harward, Columbia, Michigan and Yale. It was during this period, Menon published his first book, Law Relating to Government Control Over Private Enterprise, co-authored by his colleague, G. Narasimhaswamy, published through Eastern Law Book Company.[8] Soon, his second book, Law and Property was published by N. M. Tripathy Co.[9] He also published an article, co-authored by Clarke Cunningham in the Michigan Law Review.[2]

Madhava Menon, while working in Delhi, is known to have organized the annual conference of the All India Law Teachers Association, in 1972, where he was elected as the Secretary General of the association. He has served as a member of the Committee for Implementing Legal Aid Schemes (CILAS), which was formed under the chairmanship of V. R. Krishna Iyer, by the Indira Gandhi government, in connection with the Garibi Hatao programme.[2] He has also served as the Secretary of the Bar Council of India Trust. During an interlude, he worked as the principal of the Government Law College, Pondicherry.[3] When the Bar Council of India decided to establish a new law school in early 1980s, Menon's services were sought and he is known to have set up the Bangalore-based National Law School of India University with a US$ 150,000 government grant.[3] The school was the first in India to use the Harvard Law School's case study method, which later became the mainstream form of legal education in India. Menon worked there for 12 years as the director, moving from there after the institution gained university status.[3]

In 1998, Menon was invited by the West Bengal Government to set up the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) on the lines of the Bangalore initiative. As the first vice-chancellor, he is known to have developed its infrastructure and educational curriculum and held the post till 2003, when the Supreme Court of India asked him to take over the responsibility as the first director of the newly formed National Judicial Academy a training centre for judges[3] where he worked till his retirement in 2006.[6]

Post retirement positions[edit]

After retiring from active government service in 2006, Menon was appointed by the Union Government as a member of the Commission on Centre-State Relations,[10] a position he held till 2010.[6] He has also served as the Chairman of the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, and later, as the Chairman of the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram. He headed the central government committee constituted to draft the National Policy on Criminal Justice and served as the Commission on Equal Opportunity.[6] He is a former member of Law Commission of India and has been a member of the Committee on Restructuring of Higher Education in India as well as the Criminal Justice Reform committee.[6] Later, Madhava Menon headed a Commission constituted as per a Supreme Court order of April 2014 to submit recommendations on government advertisements, on which report was submitted in October 2014.[11]

Menon who is a former member of the Board of Governors of the International Organization of Judicial Trainers (IOJT),[12] is an advisor to the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute, Canada.[6] He holds the chair of the International Bar Association on Continuing Legal Education based at the National Law School, Bengaluru and Menon Institute of Legal Advocay Training (MILAT),[13] a non governmental organization founded by him in Thiruvananthapuram.[6] He is the Chancellor of the Guru Ghasidas University, Chhattisgarh[14] and a member of the Centre for Development Studies, Nirma University, Ahmedabad, Dr. Ambedkar University of Social Sciences, Delhi, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, National Law University, Jodhpur, National Law University Odisha[6] and the School of Law, Indira Gandhi National Open University.[10]

Madhava Menon lives in Thiruvananthapuram with his wife, Rema Devi. The couple has a son, Ramesh, who is an engineer based in Bengaluru.[15]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Madhava Menon, the president of the Bar Council of India during the period, 1994-98, was conferred the Living Legend of Law Award by the International Bar Association in 1994.[2][3][15] He is also a recipient of the Rotary Club Award for Vocational Excellence and the Plaque of Honour from the Bar Council of India.[2][3][15] He received the degree of Doctor of Law (Honoris Causa) from the National Law School of India University in 2001.[3][15] He is a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies and Columbia University.[2] The Government of India included Menon, in 2003, in the Republic Day honours list, for the civilian award of Padma Shri.[5]

Legacy[edit]

Madhava Menon's contributions are known behind the establishment of two law schools in India viz. National Law School of India University, Bangalore[16] and West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata.[15] He is credited with the conceptualization of five year integrated LLB course, in place of the earlier 3 year course.[4][15] His Socratic Method of teaching, involving participation of law students in legal clinics, is considered by many as an innovation.[2] Menon Institute of Legal Advocay Training (MILAT), a non governmental organization founded by him, is involved in promoting human rights values and judicial reforms and conducting advance training programs for lawyers.[15]

Prof. Menon has narrated the journey of his life in his autobiography, The Story of a Law Teacher: Turning Point,[2] besides publishing several books books, articles and monographs on a variety of legal subjects.[17][15] Some of his notable works are:

  • Prof. N.R. Madhava Menon's Reflections on Legal and Judicial Education[18]
  • Law and Poverty[9]
  • Law and Ethics[19]
  • Action Plan on Recommendations of the National Committee on Women Prisoners[20]
  • Legal Aid and Legal Education[21]
  • Population and Law: Justics for All[22]
  • Education and Public Health[23]
  • A Training Manual for Police on Human Rights[24]
  • Feminism and Law[25]
  • Clinical Legal Education[26]
  • A Handbook on Clinical Legal Education[27]
  • Law Relating to Government Control Over Private Enterprise[8]
  • Documents and Court Opinions on Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster Case[28]
  • Rule of Law in a Free Society[29]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vivek Nair (September 16, 2009). Prof (Dr) N R Madhava Menon (Documentary). YouTube. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n N. R. Madhava Menon. The Story of a Law Teacher: Turning Point. Universal Law Publishing. ISBN 9788175348189. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Business Week". Business Week. 2000. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Miles to Go". Legally India. 18 September 2009. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Padma Awards". Padma Awards. 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2014. 
  6. ^ A. T. Markose (1956). Judicial Control of Administrative Action in India. Madras Law Journal Office. p. 752. 
  7. ^ a b Madhava Menon, N. R., Mysore, Narasimhaswamy G. Law relating to government control over private enterprise; cases and materials incorporating constitutional right to trade and business and law relating to monopolies and restrictive trade practices. Eastern Law Book Co. OCLC 502077096. 
  8. ^ a b Madhava Menon. Law and Poverty. N. M. Tripathy Co. 
  9. ^ a b "IGNOU". IGNOU. 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Madhava Menon Committee". Madhava Menon Committee. 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  11. ^ "IOJT". IOJT. 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  12. ^ "MILAT". Legally India. 2014. Retrieved December 25, 2014. 
  13. ^ "GGU". GGU. 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h "University of Michigan Law School". University of Michigan Law School. 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Prof Menon endorses overseas LLM degrees". Legally India. 16 September 2009. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Listing at OCLC". OCLC. 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  17. ^ Madhava Menon. Law and ethics. OCLC. OCLC 133531266. 
  18. ^ Madhav Menon. Action plan on recommendations of the national committee on women prisoners. National Law School of India University. OCLC 104526914. 
  19. ^ Madhava Menon. Population and law : justice for all. OCLC. OCLC 54408427. 
  20. ^ Madhava Menon. Education and public health : legislative initiatives in fifty years of the republic (1950-2000). OCLC. OCLC 1888890622. 
  21. ^ Madhava Menon. A Training manual for police on human rights. National School of India University. OCLC 28017004. 
  22. ^ Madhava Menon, N. R., Kapur, Ratna. "Feminism and law". National Law School of India University. OCLC 1216275264. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  23. ^ Madhava Menon. Documents and court opinions on Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster case : for course on tort-II (industrial and mass torts). National Law School of India. OCLC 29279803. 
  24. ^ Madhava Menon. Rule of law in a free society. Nehru Centre. OCLC 362211068. 

External Links[edit]