NR Madhava Menon, father of modern legal education in India, passes away

Professor NR Madhava Menon, a towering personality in modern Indian legal education, passed away on Tuesday night at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. He was 84.

Madhava Menon founded the National Law School of India in Bengaluru, National University of Judicial Sciences in Kolkata and the National Judicial Academy in Bhopal. He was the first head of all these institutions. He has authored 12 books in his career.

Founded in 1986, the National Law School of India, Bengaluru, was the first national law school in the country. The school was headed by him for 12 years.

The National University of Judicial Sciences in Kolkata was founded in 1998, and the National Judicial Academy in Bhopal was founded in 2003.

Born in 1935 in Thiruvananthapuram, he graduated from the Government Law College of Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam. Prior to that, he graduated in Zoology from SD College Alappuzha in 1953.

After graduating in 1955, he began practicing as a lawyer at the Kerala High Court. He has also worked at the Central Secretariat.

Beginning his legal career as an advocate at the Kerala High Court in 1956, Menon shifted his base to Delhi, after first joining the faculty of Aligarh Muslim University in 1960. He then moved to Delhi University in 1965, where he became Professor and Head of the Campus Law Centre.

A few years later, he completed his LLM and PhD from Aligarh Muslim University by 1965.

In 1986, Menon moved to Bangalore at the invitation of Bar Council of India to set up the National Law School of India University and to initiate a new model of legal education, the 5-Year Integrated LL.B. programme.

After his retirement, he settled in Thiruvananthapuram and served as the chairman of the prestigious Centre for Development Studies (CDS) for two terms, before calling it a day a few years back.

During his career, Menon was also the president of the Indian Bar Council.

He also set a precedent by running legal clinics to provide free legal aid to the poor.

He is survived by his wife and son. His last rites will be conducted at the state-owned crematorium on Wednesday afternoon.

Condolences began pouring in from all quarters following the news of his demise.

In his message, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that Madhava Menon modernised legal education.”He gave a new direction for the legal education sector. His achievements would make any Malayali proud.”

President Ram Nath Kovind also offered his condolences.

“Sorry to hear of the passing of Prof N.R. Madhava Menon, educationist, scholar and a pioneering spirit behind modern legal education in India, beginning with National Law School of India University, Bangalore. My condolences to his family and countless students,” he wrote.