CJI rues lack of empathy in educational institutions

Hyderabad: Chief Justice of India Justice D.Y. Chandrachud on Saturday said that the lack of empathy in educational institutions, especially in premier ones like the IITs, IIMs and the national law institutes, had an adverse effect on students.

Citing the increase of the number of students dying by suicide, mostly those hailing from the from marginalised sections like the Dalit student at IIT-Bombay and an Adivasi student in NLU, Odisha, Justice Chandrachud said that it was because of discrimination which stemmed from a lack of empathy.

Justice Chandrachud postulated that one must also realise that students face different challenges. “Practices like putting out a list of marks obtained by students along with social categories, asking for marks of marginalised students publicly to humiliate them, making a mockery of their English proficiency and labelling them as inefficient, should end,” the CJI said.

Justice Chandrachud was speaking at the 19th annual convocation of the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research University of Law, Hyderabad (Nalsar). The institution is celebrating its silver jubilee.

Explaining that empathy is not a luxury but an essential ingredient, which separated a just society from an unjust one, Justice Chandrachud says that he wished to reflect on the state of higher education from a philosophical perspective; from the lens of empathy apart from the component of excellence.

“In our educational institutions today we tend to focus a lot on excellence. We are taught that our lives can be better if we excel in our studies or in our professional life. However, education can only be complete if we nurture the values of empathy and compassion. Our educational institutions must not limit themselves to promoting competition amongst students, but also shape their outlook towards life where empathy is a crucial component and element. Excellence in life cannot go without empathy,” the CJI noted.

In this context, he said that judges cannot shy away from social realities and cited the example of how nine judges of the Supreme Court of the United States had released a statement during the Black Lives Matter movement.

Congratulating the Nalsar University at Hyderabad on its jubilee, the CJI said that a university does not mean only students and professors or teaching staff but also the labour and workers who work to run the institutions. That shall be the true meaning of dignity, which the Supreme Court has recognised as a facet of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution, the CJI said.

Asking law students not to allow their creative side to wither in pursuit of the legal profession, Justice Chandrachud said that creativity had led to landmark constitutional judgments. “Your life as a lawyer is also enriched by your own explorations outside the law. In my own life I made it a habit to read literature other than law textbooks and I can share that it has helped me in my career firstly as a lawyer and then as a judge,” the CJI said.

Justice Chandrachud also said that apart from his judicial and administrative work, he had been attempting to throw light on various structural issues which confront society.

Nalsar University Chancellor and Chief Justice of Telangana High Court Justice Ujjal Bhuyan, Supreme Court judges Justice V. Ramasubramanian, Justice P.S. Narasimha and Supreme Court former judges Justice S.S.M. Quadri and Justice P.V. Reddi participated in the event.

Prof. Srikrishna Deva Rao, Vice Chancellor of Nalsar University, Prof. K. Vidyullata Reddy, registrar, led the academic procession.

In the five-year LLB Honours stream, Tanvi Apte secured 11 gold medals and shared another with other students. Manjari Singh secured 10 gold medals.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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