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An estimated 7-minute read
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It was on this day 13 years ago, that Gujarat National Law University (GNLU), one of the finest institutions imparting legal education in India was born. The early days of the institution were spent in a makeshit academic building in Gandhinagar's GIDC industrial area in sector 26 while the students were housed across the rail tracks in old flats meant for government employees in sector 24. The birthing pains of the institution were many with the initial batches facing every problem imaginable from inter faculty rivalaries to even pitched battles between the locals and the students right in front of the sector 24 hostels. For the first four years, the university functioned with a weekly off on a Wednesday rather than a Sunday, in line with the rules of the industrial estate it was located in. However, it has come a very long way since.


The Foundation Day festivities this year are to be held in a 1000-seater auditorium within the GNLU campus called 'Aura' which is probably the most hi tech and state of the art venue of its kind in not just Gandhinagar but probably even Gujarat as a whole.



The new campus boasts of a majestic administrative building which is instantly recognisable and is an architectural icon in the area. It also has two academic blocks and halls of residence for men and women spread across 10 to 15 acres of land with much more yet to be developed. The auditorium and the new campus were dreams which seemed distant if not fantasies in the initial days when the batches attended classes in shifts rather than all 5 batches at once because of the paucity of classrooms. Even when the new campus was officially innaugurated in great haste in 2012, many buildings remained under construction and GNLU looked incomplete, because very frankly it still was. Now with all buildings and the auditorium ready, it looks like it has arrived on the big stage, ready to cement its place amongst the top law schools.

Lots of things to do

Buildings and the permanent campus are not the only things that have changed in the last 13 years. In the early days, unless it was the time of the GNLU cultural festival - Pentagram or the annual football league, there was not much in the way of organised activities to do in the old hostels at sector 24. Most students just engaged in some positive interaction with juniors and asking them to fetch water. Now with water coolers not too far from any room and more litigious and shall-complain-at-the-drop-of-a-hat juniors that is no longer an option.

Thankfully though, there is much more to do at the new campus. In the way of sports, the new campus has not just a football league happenening but also a basketball league, volleyball league, IPL style cricket league complete with teamowners and auctions (no cheerleaders though) and even dance lessons. On the cultural side there are weekly sessions of the Quizzing League, Deabating League and a Cinephile Circle. 


GNLU has been noticed in the legal fraternity because of its flawless organisation of GIMC (GNLU International Moot Court Competition) over the years and in the recent past it has also added the GNLU Debate, GNLUMUN and the GNLU Moot on Securities and Investment Law. Most if not all people attending these events walk away impressed with GNLU and GNLUites. And this is without even talking about the numerous events be it in moots, debates or MUNs where GNLUites impress while representing GNLU.

While the initial batches had the fear that GNLU would go from being a university to just another college of the Gujarat University, the students today have the opportunity to study not only at GNLU but also abroad since they can spend a semester at prestigious foreign universities such as University of Hague, University of Malaya and College of Law at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Some have also made GNLU proud while interning abroad at ICC Paris and the International Law Commission.

GNLU making a name for itself as mentioned above coupled with GNLU's ability to secure good placements for its students has ensured that prospective law students' perception remains that GNLU is better than any of the CLAT NLUs established after it and that it is at par or even better than the much older NLIU Bhopal.

Yearning for something more

For the first 12 years of any person's life, you are not confident. You are unsure of yourself. You are just glad that your basic needs are being met. You just tend to follow what you are told. Only when you enter your teenage years do you start making up your own mind and demanding what you want rather than merely follow what is told.

So it is at this juncture, now that 13 years have passed that like any teenager, the GNLU student body is finally getting rebellous. It is no longer enough for GNLUites to have just the basic necessities. The present batches havent seen the existential crises of the initial years. The amazing campus, library open till midnight, on campus eatery, functional classes and not too bad faculy is something they believe is their right and not a privilege.

Approaching the teenage years, GNLU student body has started yearning for more. GNLU and NLU-J remain notable exceptions where there is no real student representative body with any substantial authority. While some GNLUites feel strongly about the need for having a voice in the way things are run, everyone atleast expects the university to be run in a transparent and fair manner rather than arbitrarily. It is now clear to most students that they are the stakeholders who have the most to gain or lose depending on the way the things are run in the University. It is only fair that they wish for a say in the design of the procedures and process of the administration.

Growing online criticism

Contrary to what the administration would like to believe, the recent flood of criticism online in relation to GNLU is not from disgruntuled GNLU students who were punished by the administration for drinking or abusing drugs on campus. The online criticism is not by students who unreasonably hate the adminsitration.  It is just by those who wish the administration was fair and transparent at all times.

It is telling that in recent litigation between a student and GNLU, the lawyer reppresenting the student was a GNLUite who during his days at GNLU was known not a troublemaker but as a student with immpecable mooting and academic credentials! Online and in the corridors of GNLU, GNLUites are not wishing for GNLU to be soft on cheating in exams or make linient rules, they are just hoping for a say in the making of rules and for their uniform & non arbitrary application.

Lawschoolleaks tipped Legallyindia off regarding GNLU's change in regulations and wrote extensively about GNLU's dishonest NAAC self evaluation as well as ridiculous internship rules. We did this not because we wish to embarass the university or harm its reputation but because GNLU students deserve better.

The way forward

Lawschoolleaks does not think lowly of GNLU, infact we are fully aware about GNLU's strides as we have elaborated above. We even think that GNLU is the best place for any person who wants to litigate because it is the only lawschool in India (and probably the world) which gives its students funding for starting a litigation practice (GLASS scholarships). 

However, that is no reason to ignore your own rules, make rules which are not informed to the student body or make ridiculous and women unfriendly internship rules which you then do not even bother implementing. We highlight these aspects because we want these things to stop. We believe that GNLU has the fundamentals in place to become a truly worldclass law school.

Ano Bhadrah Kratavo Yantu Vishwatah is the GNLU moto. Translated into English it reads "Let Knowledge Come from All Directions". If the GNLU administration truly heeds its own moto, it must also heed and acquire knowledge from this anonymous blog. So this is what we have to say to the administration - 

"Congrats on your foundation day. GNLU is now a teenager. As a child becomes older, the parent must become a friend rather than a parent. So please stop issuing orders to the student body (especilally the whimsical ones). Please empower them to be respected and valued partners in the decision making processes. Lastly, like any teenage besties, be transparent and tell them everything rather than hide things from them.
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