8 NUJS L. Rev. 1 (2015)

handle is hein.journals/nujslr8 and id is 1 raw text is: 




         PROMOTING CLINICAL LEGAL
      EDUCATION AND DEMOCRACY IN
                               INDIA

                           Sital Kalantry*

Clinical legal education emerged in the United States in the 1960s to give
valuable skill-based instructions to law students while providing legal ser-
vices to people who could not otherwise afford them. This essay proposes
another reason why both Indian and American law schools should support
the development of law clinics. Drawing on the works of John Dewey and
Martha Nussbaum, I argue that clinical legal education promotes democ-
racy. Both elite American and Indian universities are largely unrepresenta-
tive of the respective population demographics of their countries. In clinics,
law students bridge this divide by undertaking representation for people
from different racial, caste, and income backgrounds than themselves.
These exchanges generate empathy and knowledge among students about
the challenges marginalised groups in the society face. Consequently, they
learn to recognise other citizens as equals and to formulate policies that
will enhance the welfare of society as a whole. There is an urgent need
to formalise clinical legal education programs in Indian law schools both
for purposes of enhancing the democracy as well as providing skill-based
training to law students and much-needed legal services to the poor.

                       I. INTRODUCTION

             Law schools in both India and the United States offer clinical edu-
cation classes but the level of formality and supervision varies dramatically
between the classes taught in the two countries. In law clinics, students gain
valuable legal skills while delivering much-needed legal services to underprivi-
leged communities. These twin goals are often cited to justify clinical legal
education.' This essay proposes another value of clinical legal education-it
can promote the functioning of democracy. In a typical law clinic setting, a
law student will represent a person who cannot afford legal representation in a

   Clinical Professor of Law, Cornell Law School. With the support of the Fulbright-Nehru fel-
   lowship, I had the opportunity to live in New Delhi for the Spring semester in 2012. During
   this time, I co-taught a clinic with Professors Elizabeth Brundige (Cornell), Priya S. Gupta
   (who was a professor at Jindal Global Law School at the time), and Ajay Pandey (Jindal Global
   Law School). This paper draws from the field work I conducted while teaching the clinic at the
   Jindal Global Law School. I would also like to thank Kimberly Rhoten for her valuable editing
   and research work.
   D.W. Tushaus et al., India Legal Aid Clinics: Creating Service Learning Research Projects to
   Study Social Justice, 2 AJLE 101 (2015).

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