The Government Law College (GLC), one of the oldest law colleges in Asia, is celebrating its sesquicentennial this year. The college, which has produced some of the country’s best-known lawyers, continues to attract legal aspirants from across the country. Though the anniversary fell last year, it is celebrating the event only this year.
Situated at Churchgate, the college was started in 1855 at Elphinstone School at Mahapalika Marg. In 1941, it was shifted to the present location.
GLC has been encouraging activities, like Moot Courts, debates, essay competitions and other activities which help improving the legal knowledge and the oratory and literary skills of the aspiring candidates.
Moot court competitions have been a regular feature since 1936. The college has also been publishing the college magazine since 1930 and the Law Review for the last few years. Besides, it also encourages sports, music, dance and drama.
Till 1922, no female students were admitted to the rolls of the institution as women were then disqualified from being enrolled as legal practitioners in India. However, the first one to fight for the rights was Cornelia Sorabjee, who in 1897 acquired special permission from the University Senate to sit for the examination.
Shruti Chopra, a first-year student, sums up the spirit of the college, “Apart from learning law, it is an experience itself. One can learn other nuances of life. I have grown up in the last one year.”
Many grown-up men and women, who later became legal luminaries, share the same sentiments.
Bharat Dabholkar, 1974-batch, said, “Those years are very close to my heart. It was here that I was exposed to students and cultures from across the country. Each one had a different perspective about life. The ambience helped me become a more confident person. It was there I discovered my love for theatre. We had a theatre group.”
S P Bharucha, 1959-batch, said, “I’ve always been focused about what I wanted to do in life. I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer. I have only fond memories to recall about GLC. We had a frolic time there. It was a great learning experience.”
Another former Chief Justice of India, M H Kanya, 1949-batch, said he had spent some of the best years in his life in the college.
“During our times, we had very good professors. We used to go to the Asiatic Library to study. Some of my best times were spent in the library and in the canteen with friends. Many batchmates went on to become successful lawyers.”
Teachers share the same excitement. Said professor Shakuntala Bharwani, “I’ve seen several numbers of batches pass out. Every year, the level of enthusiasm rises. These days, students are more bold and focused.”