Law School Review: College of Legal Studies, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES), Dehradun

Written by a UPES student anonymously

Every University/College comprises of a good part and a bad part. We have always been taught to own up the truth and it would have been great if the Universities/Colleges had followed the same by owning up the bad parts instead of only the good parts and thus striking a balance rather than getting into an act of ‘COVERING UP’.

It is not their fault either I guess taking into consideration the huge competition in the private law school admission sector (who would be the one to make the most in May to July?).

College of Legal Studies, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun, sadly is a victim of that race. It has and is losing its integrity in order to keep the profit margin intact.

Here is a highlight of the achievements of the College in the past few years:-

1. INFRASTRUCTURE

A. THE CAMPUS

The Law College campus or building rather had shifted from the Bidholi campus to the Kandoli campus (Bidholi campus is now only for the Btech. people) last year. The campus comprises of the Management branch too. So, that makes one building for law and one for management.

A casual stroll within the two buildings would clearly help you to garner the fact that the law building was made in a haste and does not stand anywhere close to the management building with regard to size of classrooms or facilities (no charging points for laptops in the law building classrooms. In Management, well….you will have one with every single seat).

I guess it is a very small issue but I think we have settling for smaller things for long now. ATLEAST THEY SHOULD GIVE DISCOUNTS IN THE TUITION FEES THEN. (the entire course fee ranges from around rupees 10 lakhs to 16 lakhs including hostel)

Besides this, you have a Food court (a decent one) with a single floor for students belonging to both management and the law school. So, if you are lucky enough, you would surely find a seat during the lunch hours.

The top two floors are reserved for the Boys hostel students and only one of them is functional during the lunch hours. No reason given for not using the top one. It is for show.

The basement comprises of the FACULTY LOUNGE. Quality of food is decent. They charge you with prices ranging from that of a dhaba to a five star hotel restaurant.

B. THE LIBRARY

The most precious asset for any law school would be its Library. For UPES, it is certainly not. The College library can be regarded as far from adequate to serve the needs of a law school student.

Though after subscribing to online databases like LexisNexis International, Heinonline, which both came in last year the situation has improved but still there are not enough books to suffice the preparation or research in a single subject for a student belonging from 1st to 5th year.

In order to procure books for any competition, a student needs to fill up a requisition form followed by an eternal wait for its implementation.

Sometimes, sorry, most of the times, you would have to wait till the next semester for them to arrive (So make sure you order your books for your national/international moots in the semester previous to which you plan to go).

The College Library is situated in the basement of the Law School building (told you, not a precious asset!) and therefore sometimes you might feel suffocated as there is no proper ventilation in place.

Technically, it is the parking area which they have converted into the library (a person who spends time in the library would have noticed for sure).

C. HOSTELS

The Campus comprises of three boys` hostels and one girls` hostel. Getting admission into the hostel is based upon merit (on paper) and if you do not have that, make sure you have good connections (preferably political).

Most of the seats are filled up through contacts and very less on merit, as a result, the ambience of the hostel might not be ideal for few students but then people do manage if you have good roommates and know the right people.

The facilities provided by the hostel are decent and would suffice your basic needs pretty well. The mess food though has degraded over the years as a consequence of the mass intake of students every year. The Hostel Mess Committee still puts in an effort to make the right menu but even they become helpless sometimes.

The Girls` Hostel has a different mess and a different Mess Committee. The infrastructure is better compared to that of the Boys` Hostels.

2. STUDENT INTAKE

A college is recognised through its students but UPES fails to understand this fact. They believe that more you promote the so-called infrastructure and courses they offer, the more the repute the college shall gain.

COLS, UPES has now turned into a profit making institution and therefore they do not really believe in small things like ‘numbers’ (except the money).

The college has managed to take in approximately 500 students (1st Year) for the batch of 2016-2021.

The number says it all. Most of the National Law Universities has an entire capacity of 500 students ranging from 1st to 5th year, but UPES, produces a whole NLU every year.  The consequence of such a huge intake is a fall in quality which seems to be very obvious for any rational human being.

3. COURSES OFFERED BY UPES

The number of student intake every year increases with the number of courses introduced every year.

For the upcoming batch, the college has introduced a new course called B.sc LL.B(Hons.) with specialization in IPR/Medical Law/Health Law/Food Law/Forensic Law. How many of them are recognised by the Bar Council of India (BCI) is a question that needs to be asked taking into consideration the issues which are already being faced by the students pursuing B.tech LL.B.

A complete list of courses offered by the college can be found here: http://www.upes.ac.in/college-of-lega-studies_(cols).

4. FACULTY AND ACADEMICS AT UPES LAW COURSE

UPES has the policy or marketing policy rather of defining the destiny of a student right from his/her inception into the law school.

I mean, till third year you are not sure whether you want to pursue civil or criminal law or any other form of law and even more than that, how would you know that you hold an interest in a particular subject/segment of law and would be able to excel in it unless and until you read, research and practice in that particular domain?

This process can only begin after inception into law school and not before that.

The courses as mentioned above has a preset pattern which a student needs to follow and therefore even if you want to pursue criminal law instead of corporate after your third year, sorry but you are not allowed to do that since you had already given that up that option when you chose your course sitting in the Delhi auditorium with your parents.

The majority of the faculty of the college are fresh LL.M graduates from different National law schools and most of them really do put in an effort to adjust themselves with the administration of the college and give their best shot.

At the same time there are other senior faculty members who do not really bother much and are satisfied enough to be able to complete the course.

The form of learning the college imparts does not help in growth of ideas as there is very little classroom discussions and more of trying to complete the designated syllabus method.

5. STUDENT ACTIVITIES AT COLS, UPES, DEHRADUN

A. MOOTING

Mooting is the most important co-curricular activity in every law school. For UPES, mooting begins and ends with its flagship event, Dr. Paras Diwan International Energy Law Moot Court Competition, which usually has a huge budget allocated to it as it helps the college to earn alot of publicity as International teams (Bangladesh and Nepal) turn up for the competition.

The most active committee of the College like any other law school is the Moot Court Association which organizes approximately around 8 (eight) events throughout the year including intra-college+ national/international.

The organising of events has always been great since students and faculties put all their labour into it. The obvious question therefore which arises in this case is how would I rate the performance of my own college in competitions held by other law schools?

I would answer it as, Average! The reason for the same is there is minimal amount of support from the faculties even for the big moots like ICC Trials, Philip. C. Jessup, Henry Dunant and we do not even receive invites for good moots like Herbert Smith or D.M Harish.

So, this shows that though we are good at organising, our performance has not been great so far. Reason? Lack of infrastructure in terms of books, no mentors except seniors (you need to consider the fact that they are also students who has other prior commitments too).

The Moot Court Association is happy to receive any trophy from any moot whatsoever without considering the tier or the level of competition of the moot. Therefore a team losing in Henry Dunant is treated at par with a team losing in any unrecognised moot.

B. LAW REVIEW

Besides mooting, another important activity of any law school which brings it prestige and recognition would be its Law Review/Journal. UPES had its law review in the year 2014-15 but after the faculty concerned for the same left the institution, the journal, inspite of two attempts, could not be revived till date.

C. DEBATING AND OTHER CLUBS/SOCIETIES

Besides the MCA, the DebSoc is also a very functional society or committee in the college but again lack of proper guidance and exposure has kept the level of performance low but still it has performed better compared to the other committees so far.

Since the academic year of 2016-17, new clubs like oratory club, music club etc were introduced which are occasionally active in nature.

D. COLLEGE FESTS

The college organises one cultural and one educational fest. The Cultural Fest by the name of Urjaa and the educational one- IGNITE.

Urjaa does not even come close to be regarded as a college fest with no great artists or performances, completely devoid of any feeling of a college fest in toto.

IGNITE is a decent educational fest with great prize money and therefore attracts alot of participation but mostly in-house.

E. THE COLLEGE RULES AND REGULATIONS

The college has strict dress code or uniform rather and you are supposed to comply with the same or you will be stopped at the college gate by the guards and sometimes even asked to move out the class if not properly dressed by the faculties.

Some people believe that maintaining such a dress code is important to maintain the sanctity of an education institute but the way a person is treated for not abiding by the same does not anyway help to the keep the sanctity intact.

P.S. The dress code includes your socks as well.

The perusal of the hostel rules would give you an instant case to file a writ in the Uttarakhand High Court but I guess students are stopped from doing the same since nobody would like to begin his/her career by filing a lawsuit against their own alma-mater.

One is not allowed to visit the mess wearing shorts or slippers (including crocs) during the college hours. The college hour starts from 8:00 am till 5:30 pm. So, make sure if you are planning to join the campus hostel, please get yourself an extra pair of shoes.

The curfew time for the girls hostel is 6:00 pm during winters and 8:00 pm during summers. People have not really complained much about this yet but a breach of the same would help you to attract a lot of free publicity followed by a penalty!

  • The UPES belief book mentions that it is amenable to RTI applications and have also designated a Public Information Officer and an Appellate Authority in compliance with the same but so far, the voice(s) and along with the application(s) have been suppressed.
  • The UPES Belief Book also lays down the roles and responsibilities of various authorities of the University. Amongst them the College Proctor has the authority to initiate and supervise if any alleged breach of Disciplinary Regulations and also to refer the case to a Disciplinary Committee in cases of serious breach. Thus, the role of the Proctor is pivotal in the entire process.
  • But the Belief book does not lay down what would constitute a major act of indiscipline, minor act of indiscipline, misconduct in classroom (as classified by the Belief Book itself). It therefore lies solely on the discretion of the Proctor or the college authority to decide whether it is a major or minor act and refer the matter to the Disciplinary Committee which is clearly arbitrary and irrational in nature. The student thereafter is given a right to be heard or make his/her case in an already lost battle.

This year there has also been an incident of Ragging in the campus, which was reported to the UGC (not by the College) but the College authorities have allowed the culprits to be back on campus after giving them a year back.

7. PLACEMENTS AT COLLEGE OF LEGAL STUDIES, UPES DEHRADUN

Now, this one is the big one!!

Students pay a fortune in this law school only to expect a good paying job at the end of 5 years but what they manage to get is only Rs 25,000 per month on an average in a metropolitan city.

Price-Waterhouse-Cooper (PwC) has been a constant recruiter since the past few years but even they do not recruit more than 5 to 6 people with a maximum salary of Rs 5 lakhs.

Other major recruiters would be Adani, again 2 to 3 people, salary 4 to 6 (Approx).

None of the top tier law firms turn up for the placements with an exception being Wadia Ghandy & Co. who recruits only a single student after a rigorous placement process of 5 months [pay package 6-7 lakhs (Approx)].

Students mostly get placed into consultancies (including LPOs) and only a few fortunate of them manage to land up PPOs.

The placement records are fake! (More details of the same available at: http://www.upes.ac.in/upes_llb/placements.php).

They take into consideration the ones who have opted for placements and little do the people know how students are demotivated before sitting for placements, so that a majority of them backs-out/opts out and consequently they would be left with only 40 percent of the batch to place which would in turn help them to claim a 90% placement statistic and display it on the hoardings all over Dehradun city.

8. PARTING WORDS

This College can give competition to any of the top 5 NLUs but only if its integrity is kept intact and the administration stops making it a profit making institution and concentrate more upon improving the quality of the students rather than quantity.

The students also at the same time needs to realise their responsibility towards the college and more than that towards their parents and themselves and it is only then can College of Legal Studies, UPES, Dehradun be able to resurrect itself again.

Lawctopus

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