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GNLU defends against critical Menon report, Patel claims no copy received since January

GNLU Gandhinagar has claimed it has not been sent an official copy of the law school’s first review commission’s report,which was co-authored and submitted by Prof Madhava Menon in January, but has formally responded to criticism contained in the report.

The “inter memo” was submitted by GNLU’s acting registrar and dean of academic affairs to its vice chancellor (VC) and director Bimal Patel on 10 May. [Download and read GNLU’s full seven-page response here]

It asserted that the review commission interacted with its faculty for “hardly an hour”, that no “structured questionnaire” was addressed to the faculty and that no “formal meeting” was called by the commission with administrative staff.

They added that they could not comment on the memorandum submitted to the commission by students, listing a variety of grievances, because they had not seen a copy.

Missing inaction

Patel wrote in an email to Legally India on Wednesday, 22 May that “GNLU Office has not received as of today any report of the Review Commission from any authority - i.e. Hon'ble Visitor or Chair Review Commission”. Instead, he said by phone that he only became aware of the report after it was first published on legal blog Stripped Law and later on Legally India. He wrote: “Based on the document available on your website, we had internal deliberations. Faculty and staff had submitted a combined memo to me, a copy of which is attached herewith for your kind perusal and information.”

However, NLSIU Bangalore and NUJS Kolkata founding vice chancellor Menon told Legally India yesterday that he and former Law Commission of India member HC Dholakia had signed and submitted the final version of GNLU’s first ever review commission report to the law school in January. The report was final and not a draft, even without the signature of the commission’s third member, former IIM Ahmedabad director Bakul Dholakia.

Patel responded to Legally India that he would request an official copy of the report from GNLU’s visitor.


Menon and HC Dholakia’s report raised concerns, amongst others, about the manner of appointment of Patel to the post of director at the law school, his manner of penalising students, recommending a student representative body to allow students to air grievances more effectively.

The report had also raised issues of academic and administrative deficit, unnecessarily stringent attendance and examination rules, and the lack of grievance redressal mechanisms at the law school, as reported by Legally India.


GNLU’s response, signed by academic affairs dean Udayakumara Ramakrishna and registrar-in-charge Dolly Jabbal, claimed that the college had made regular efforts to recruit professors and a full-time registrar and restructured its courses. They also wrote that the college conducts regular performance appraisals for its faculty, has fortnightly faculty meetings, invites visiting professors every semester, and reaches out to mentor and counsel students.

The memo highlighted the existence of a “17-point Research-Based Teaching University Agenda”, and a “Performance Management Appraisal System”, and the availability of mentors to all years and “not just the needy first two years”.

The memo added that faculty at GNLU were “extremely passionate about teaching”, faculty meetings “stretching to more than three hours on occasion” were a fortnightly routine, there was no communication gap between the director and the faculty members.

In respect of the report’s noted issues surrounding discipline and frequent fining of students by the administration, the memo stated that Patel visited the hostels every few weeks “to have a first-hand feel” of student problems, while an email group was “accessible to all students for bringing any hostel, mess, security, campus related issues. Their problems are redressed through open hour session and by email”.

It added that the university strictly followed the Bar Council of India (BCI) norms on attendance. Explaining that there has been an absence of suitable candidates for the full-time registrar post, it asserted that other universities also followed a similar policy of appointing senior faculty members to the post.

The memo also noted that GNLU was “the 9th lowest fee charging national law university”, and that fees were its major revenue component since it did not receive a recurring grant.

Download and read GNLU’s full seven-page response here.

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