You believe that there is a need to hold on to certain customs, traditions, and being a little conservative. What do you think about having this ideology of conservatism vis-a-vis progress?
A man does not live by bread alone. He sustains life by certain faiths, beliefs, and traditions to which he is intertwined that if it is upset some people commit suicide, some people go mad, some people revolt against it, while some people get adjusted to it, so the sensibilities and sensitivities of human beings should be honored.
That is the reason why our Indian constitution in Articles 25 & 26 allows you to keep whatever belief, the faith of worship that you have. One may carry on with that as it is one’s fundamental right. Otherwise, religion has no meaning so this is what, even in developed countries various freedoms, are put on a high pedestal.
Now India with all its diversities and all sorts of obscurantist’s conservatives as you mentioned has many kinds of practices, beliefs, etc. Whether it goes by the name of religion or otherwise that is the part of faith and belief which is guaranteed so, therefore, the question is that you may consider it conservative but the conservative people may think of you as mad people or in the name of God you are destroying family, a marriage which the older generation think what is the basic solidarity.
So it is the perspective of human beings and you have to honor it but life is a growing thing and as you grow some of the obscurantist things we give up and some and some of the things legislatures might say is inhuman which in the name of public order, health, morality you can always regulate but you cannot completely obliterate the belief because you are rational, you are modernist, I am not.
Therefore, if you are wanting equality okay have it but respecting other views is necessary. That’s where you have to find balance or harmony which is what justice Indu Malhotra is all about.
Jurisprudence and related theories that we have learned have always, always been, post facto. Why is there no stream of jurisprudence which is also predictory in nature wherein they are able to analyze the trend over the years wherein it’s able to foresee a rough idea of what the future is going to be and if there is, which one?
This is the question that challenges the various roles of law in society. Law is both a conservative force maintaining the status quo and an instrument for change. So the lQ moderates it so that it is socially acceptable and your habits are not suddenly forced. But suppose if your habit is of committing suicide then, in the interest of society. The law can force you that Attempt to commit suicide will be a criminal act.
There are some laws in modern times which are not ex post facto but are taking into account the developments in technology. These are prospective where the law is ahead of public opinion. Otherwise, in a democracy, the law reflects public opinion.
Thus, the law has to be necessarily conservative in that regard but again this balancing of status quo with change is the role of law in a democratic society. Whereas if you are in an autocratic society the ruler will decide what law you will follow.
What do you feel is the need of the hour when it comes to legal education?
The need of the hour is to enable the law graduates to apply the law that he has learned to solve the problem. In other words, legal education should aim at skill development and not mere knowledge.
Knowledge can always be acquired but the real application of that knowledge to solve the problem is what makes you a lawyer.
Otherwise, knowledge of the law is not what makes you a lawyer but it makes you a good citizen. So that is lacking in present-day legal education. We call it making the law graduate “practice-ready” in a functional language. Whether law school can make him “practice-ready” is a different question (laughs)
You have been involved in policy-making processes. When you approach a policy that you want to develop, what are the parameters that you keep in mind, not specific to the policy but in general things that are in your guidelines?
That is where you need to understand the society or the community in which you want to make the policy. So first of all, all you understand the merit of the policy globally, and if you think that policy has worked in different societies and it is desirable enough in our society also then you can take measures for implementing it, how our people are receptive to that policy.
This requires some empirical data on the behavior of people, their level of knowledge, and if it is sanctioned that it will work. Thus, policy planning requires a good understanding of the community, a good understanding of the circumstances, and things like that. Otherwise, you will have a policy but the people would not be following that policy.
This is where we fail in many policies. Bureaucrats seem to know everything and they develop the policy and the politicians want to show that. So ultimately it feels that money is spent and lost, but the economic policy is different. That is where profit and motive are involved, so you are clear as to how to invite investment, what will be the economic policy is different.
That is where the motive is involved, so you are clear as to how to invite the investment, what will be the economic behavior of the manufacturer, trader, or consumer and you manipulate the operational research, but social policies require a deeper understanding than economic policies.
Lawyers are supposed to be policy developers in the sense of making legislation for society’s requirements, etc. Since legal education is so restrictive it is knocked into a wider area of management.
Thereby, lawyers are not policy planners. It is very interesting, how unlike business education, law education is more of a public group than a private group. This is not just to make a living that you study law because it is related to justice in society.
So, the lawyer as a professional person has to maximize justice in society, he is a justice provider and every living creature craves justice. That is why the lawyer’s profession is the only profession that is mentioned in the constitution. In a democratic society, the role of law in society is a very intellectually challenging discipline.
Public health as a profession has not grown in India and I feel because it is a hybrid science of so many disciplines it could not be appropriated by social work, medicine, management alone. Everybody has a small role to play. So, how to organize multi-disciplinary teaching in an undergraduate program, which department will own it is a challenge.
Lastly, we would like a message from you for the students, what they need to look out for as future lawyers.
Law is a holistic science about man and life. Law is as large as life itself in all its dimensions and this is a discipline that every intellectual would like to pursue it as it’s a very challenging role to understand the law. Whereas engineering is only concerned with that, medicine with health and this and that whereas Law is concerned with so much, everything is the law.
Therefore, how to organize it for problem-solving of the world in the future and in the country of India’s size and dimension the lawyers of tomorrow will be sought after in policy planning, in governance, in business, every department including science, technology, human rights purpose.
The laws that were unknown in the past are today becoming increasingly relevant like Competition Law, Energy Law, Mining Law, etc.
The lawyers of the future will have multiple career choices, but it requires hard work, and the ability to go beyond the blackletter law and go to the behavior in society, implications or impact of technology, assessment, so many things will have to be under the control of the lawyer if he wants to attain success.
Of course, dispute resolution will be there to make you all ready but to make it intellectually challenging he must be a learner of life, of everything under the sun, the jack of all trades. it is a very stimulating subject, no doubt about it. What is sad is how people see it as a sort of immediate means of money and things like that.