Sadiqul Islam Sagar , Md Moniruzzaman
Faculty of Law, University of Rajshahi is one of the pioneer institutes for legal education in Bangladesh as well as in South Asia. University of Rajshahi, the second largest university in Bangladesh, was granted its charter in 1953 through the Rajshahi University Act, 1953 and Law was one of its six founding subjects. Since 1953 faculty of law has created a proud legacy and established itself as a prominent institute in the field of legal education in Bangladesh.
A two years Law (pass course) program was initiated in 1954 by this faculty of law, which was the first of its kind amongst the law faculties in South Asia. It started offering Bachelor of Jurisprudence (B.Jur.) and Master of Jurisprudence (M.Jur.) programmes in the years 1970 and 1973 consecutively. B.Jur. and M.Jur. programmes were renamed as LLB (Honors) and LLM respectively in the years 1976 and 1981. There is only one department, ie department of law, under the faculty of law, which was previously known as department of law and justice.
Currently the faculty of law is offering a four years LLB (Honors) programme and a one year LLM programme. It also runs a one year evening LLM course for professionals and another one year Masters in Police Science (MPS) course at Sarda Police Academy for the BCS (Police) cadres. Faculty of law also awards postgraduate research degrees, such as MPhil and PhD to the successful fellows. It also hosts the research projects funded by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and University of Rajshahi itself.
At present there are 26 faculty members at the department of law and two of them are abroad on study leave. The present dean of the faculty of law is Mr Biswajit Chanda and the present chairman of the department is Professor Dr M Ahsan Kabir. Among the past faculty members internationally famed expert on the law of the sea Professor Dr Habibur Rahman, present Chairman of Human Right Commission Dr Mizanur Rahman, present member of Law Commission professor Dr M Shah Alam and former chief justice and chief adviser to the care taker government late Justice Habibur Rahman are a few notable figures.
The total number of students at the department is around 550. Every year around 110 students get enrolled at this department through a very competitive admission test. A good number of judges of the lower judiciary and the higher judiciary have completed their graduation from this department. Its alumni are also playing a significant role in the legal profession, teaching, NGOs, and other legal fields.
To meet the demands of the 21st century the faculty of law has introduced a more scientific and digitalised method of study. It has been following an innovative and rigorous curriculum for its students over the years. Almost all the classrooms are equipped with projectors and sound systems so as to provide a more convenient atmosphere for teaching. A computer lab has also been set up for the students so that they can be familiar with the international standards of legal education. Furthermore the whole department has been converted into a wifi zone and the students of this department have free access to it all the time.
The faculty of law has always been striving to attain the highest standard in legal education and to make it a center of excellence. The seminar library provides a rich collection of books on different areas of legal study written by national and international legal scholars. The seminar library offers a good collection of various law journals and authoritative reference books. The central library of University of Rajshahi also has a separate corner for the law students where numerous research materials can be accessed for higher studies.
Faculty of Law, University of Rajshahi is not only committed to give the students high quality and innovative legal education, it is also providing the students with practical legal experience. A new course named “Professional Ethics, Trial Advocacy, Moot Court and Court Attendance” has been added to the curriculum to serve that purpose. Students are getting first-hand experience in litigation matters. Regular visit to the court is also enriching their experience and preparing them for the future challenges of legal profession. The course teacher Sadiqul Islam Sagar, an Assistant Professor of the department, personally oversees the activities of this course.
The faculty of law also organises various seminars, workshops and training sessions in collaboration with various NGOs, think tanks and other research organisations, which helps the students to become aware of the social problems and encourages them in lawyering for the poor and the under-privileged. Students from this department also successfully participated in various Moot Court competitions and won prizes. Recently “Rajshahi University Moot Court Society” has started its journey with a grand inauguration programme. RUMCS is doing very well under the direct and dedicated supervision of it’s first president Mr Sadiqul Islam Sagar.
Two research journals namely, “Rajshahi University Law Review” and “Rajshahi University Law Journal” are regularly being published by the faculty of law. Department of law has an impressive track record in the field of sports as well. It is the reigning football champion of University of Rajshahi. The department is also doing good in other sports as well.
Despite all these accomplishments, improvement in infrastructure has become a need of the hour. The computer lab has become inoperative. The seminar library is not accessible for the students after 2pm. Addition of up-to-date academic books in the central library has been a demand of the students for a long time now. Student counseling facility should be introduced to keep the students motivated to their studies.
Faculty of law is producing quality law graduates, who are working diligently and honestly to serve their clients and the public, to lead the legal profession and to help solve the problems of our society, our country and the world.
Sadiqul Islam Sagar is an Assistant professor, Department of Law, University of Rajshahi and Md Moniruzzaman is a final year LLB student at Department of Law, University of Rajshahi.