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Padma Bhushan Late Prof. N. R. Madhava Menon (1935-2019)

Prof. N.R. Madhava Menon

Prof. N.R. Madhava Menon

Prof. Menon (B.Sc., B.L., M.A., LL.M. and Ph.D.) enrolled as an Advocate in Kerala High Court in 1956 and later joined the faculty of Aligarh Muslim University in 1960. In 1965, he moved to Delhi University and became Professor and Head of the Campus Law Centre. Meanwhile, he also served as Principal, Government Law College, Pondicherry and Secretary, Bar Council of India Trust. In 1986, Prof. Menon took up the challenging mission from Bar Council of India to set up the first National Law University in Bangalore with Five Year Integrated LL.B. and later became its Founding Vice-Chancellor.

For decades, he worked for reforming and revolutionizing the legal education not only in India but also in the SAARC nations. He was the Founder Vice-Chancellor of the National University of Juridical Sciences, Calcutta (1998-2003) and the Founder Director of National Judicial Academy, Bhopal till 2006. On retirement in 2006, the Government of India appointed him as Member of the Commission on Centre-State Relations (2006-2010). He was also Chairman of the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata and of the Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum. He chaired the Government of India Committee to draft a National Policy on Criminal Justice and the Committee on Equal Opportunity Commission. He was Member of the Committee on Criminal Justice Reforms and the Committee on Restructuring of Higher Education in India. He served two terms as Member of the Law Commission of India.

Prof. Menon was decorated with several awards by Government and professional bodies. To name a few, the International Bar Association honoured him with “Living Legend of Law Award” (1994), the Rotary Club with “Vocational Excellence Award” (1992), the Society of Indian Law Firms with the “Best Law Teacher Award” (2009), the ET-NOW Group with “National Education Leadership Award” (2013) and the Government of India with “PADMASHREE”, the highest civilian award for outstanding public services (2003). He was elected Chairman of Commonwealth Legal Education Association in 1997.

Prof. Menon engaged in professional development, training of lawyers and law teachers under the aegis of the IBA Chair at the National Law School. He was Chairman of the Menon Institute of Legal Advocacy Training (MILAT), an educational charity at Trivandrum. He was Member of Governing Boards of many Universities. He authored over a dozen books on legal education, legal profession, legal aid, judicial training and administration of justice. The book titled 'Turning Point' (2010) is a biography on the life and work of Prof. Menon. The life, achievements and tireless and unmatchable contributions for more than six decades of Prof. Menon, the father of Modern Legal Education, as an academician, institution-builder and a socially committed jurist, is being commemorated by SILF-MILAT through its Annual Best Law Teacher Awards instituted in Prof. Menon's name since 2009.