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Prof Menon, four law teachers honoured for teachers' day

The Bar Association of India and the Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF) has instituted an annual award in the name of NLSIU Bangalore founder director Padmashree Prof N.R. Madhava Menon honouring the achievements of law teachers in India.

Four other law teachers were also recognised for their services in the field on Friday, on the eve of India's national Teachers' Day.

The chief guest of the award function, Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, conferred the Best Law Teacher Award 2009 on Menon for 50 years of service as a law teacher.

Menon received a plaque, citation and cash award of Rs 1 lakh in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the growth of legal education in India.

The Chief Justice said at the awards: "Even with the success of a few law schools, there is a lot to be done for improving legal education in our country. At present, we are facing a considerable shortage of talented and motivated law-teachers.

"One reason for this is that graduates of better law schools are getting lucrative job-opportunities in commercial law firms and as in-house counsels in companies.

"While it is understandable that the young lawyers would want to ensure financial security for themselves, we must try and devise methods that attract talented individuals to legal practice, the judicial services and most importantly to law-teaching."

Prof. G.V. Ajappa of KIIT University Law School Bhubaneswar was also rewarded with a citation for Excellence in Legal Education and a Rs 1 lakh cash prize. He is the former dean and head of Dharward University's Faculty of Law and was closely involved in setting up the Bangalore and Raipur national law schools.

Three other law teachers were also cited in the awards for their outstanding services in the field of legal education and were awarded Rs 10,000 each.

The recipients were the founder director of Amity Law School Prof. M.K. Balachandran; dean of North Bengal University's Faculty of Law Prof. Gangotri Chakraborty and former vice-chancellor of NLSIU Bangalore and NLU Jodhpur Prof. N.L. Mitra.

Menon said: "Such moments of fulfillment that are seldom in the life of a teacher are to be cherished for life."

He emphasised the need for making India globally competitive and visualised it as a preferred destination of foreign students for legal education. Menon also called for greater institutional collaboration between law schools and the corporate world.

At the awards Menon also reminisced about his life as a teacher when Arun Jaitley, once a student of Menon, released his book on legal and judicial education. It was during Jaitley’s tenure as the Law Minister when Menon was awarded the Padmashree by the Government of India.

The award ceremony was presided over by SILF president and Bhasin & Co managing partner Lalit Bhasin and was attended by noted members of the legal fraternity such as Bar Association of India chairman and senior advocate Fali S. Nariman, advocate and Rajya Sabha leader of the opposition Arun Jaitley, former Chief Justice of India J.S. Verma and Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court A.P. Shah.

Menon is meeting Law Minister Veerappa Moily today to discuss the recommendations that emerged out of a symposium on legal education that was held as a follow-up to the awards on Saturday.

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