Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Novel project gets marginalized students into top law schools

The Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education (IDIA) project has reaped the fruits of its labour within the very first year of its operations. In the allotment list released this past week for the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) for admission to under-graduate courses in National Law Universities, at least 11 out of 50 candidates coached by IDIA secured admissions to top law schools in the country.

The IDIA project is aimed at reaching out to marginalised and under-represented communities in the country, sensitise them to the prospects of a career in law and help students from these communities to secure admission to law schools.

IDIA was conceptualised as a pan-India student movement in March 2010 by Shamnad Basheer, currently the HRD Ministry Professor for IP Law at the National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), Kolkata. Thanks to dedicated and passionate involvement of over a hundred law students from all over India, the project took off in nearly a dozen States, including Sikkim and Jammu & Kashmir, in the very first year of its operation.

According to an IDIA press release, Shivendu Pandey from Uttar Pradesh is the top performing IDIA scholar. He has secured the 45th rank in the general category (45 out of 23,000 candidates who wrote the CLAT exam), which will guarantee him admission to National Law School, Bangalore. Shivendu lost his father many years ago and his mother is an LIC agent earning a mere Rs.13,000 a month.

In the Scheduled Castes category, two IDIA scholars made it to top national law schools: Mukesh Kumar Kori, son of a retired defence employee, secured the 13th rank in the SC list, which entitles him to a seat at NALSAR, Hyderabad, while Kartika Annamalai secured the 55th rank in the SC list and has been allotted West Bengal NUJS, Kolkata. Kartika's mother is a stone quarry worker from Karnataka while Kartika studied at Shanti Bhavan, a school for under-privileged children.

In the Scheduled Tribes category, Johnson Subba from a government school in Pelling, a remote location in Sikkim, secured admission to NLU Orissa. His father is a clerk for the Government of Sikkim. In the ‘Persons with Disability' category, the IDIA effort paid off with all five visually challenged scholars securing admissions to various NLUs.

Bhimavarapu Mouli Aravind (All-India PWD Rank 10), NUJS; Goram Sivasankar (PWD Rank 12), GNLU; Bandi Sudhakar (PWD Rank 20), GNLU; Arepalli Naga Babu (PWD Rank 25, NLU Orissa PWD Rank 4), RMNLU, Lucknow, and NLU Orissa; Tudumu Andalu (SC PWD Rank 1), Allotted to NLU Jodhpur. All of them are from extremely poor backgrounds and most of their families earn their living through farming and subsistence wages.

Source: The Hindu, June 22, 2011
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