As rightly put by Late Prof. N R Madhava Menon, Law works best when used for catering to the needs of the society through Courts of Law. It was because of this thought process that he envisioned the setting up of premier Institutions of Law in the form of National Law Universities which were deemed as harbingers of Legal awareness and Justice in the society. However, in the past few years, these NLUs have been claimed to have diverged from the standard of legal discourse at the Bar in our Country. With a rise in the number of students opting for a lucrative corporate career in the instead of Litigation, Luminaries such as Hon’ble Mr. Justice (Retd.) Ranjan Gogoi, Former CJI expressed their disappointment and contention over the lack of candidates pursuing Litigation as a career. It is here that organizations such as CAN Foundation steps in for uplifting the vision of Late Prof. Madhava Menon by religiously working towards raising the standards of legal discourse at the Bar through financially fostering meritorious fresh Law Graduates.
With the aim of assisting aspiring litigation enthusiasts from NLUs and mobilizing students to join Litigation, CAN Foundation has taken a pioneering step by announcing the final list of selected graduates under “Project Dhananjay”. The Project intends to extend financial assistance to all the meritorious Law Graduates, who wish to pursue a career in Litigation by providing scholarly stipend that would aid them in commencing their practice and enable them to stay afloat in these testing times of Covid-19.
With the launch of Project Dhananjay, the Foundation stimulates young graduates to learn from the virtues of the renowned legend, Arjun who himself was an embodiment of hard work, grit and sincerity. The Project essentially provides an “incubatory period” to young and ignited minds of the nation, who may have the skills, but not the financial resources to raise the standards of Bar. Under the Project, a monthly stipend is accorded to the selected students post the two-tier selection process by a High Powered Selection Panel. The financial assistance extended to students, as envisaged under the Project, aims at dispelling the anxieties and apprehensions they might bear as they venture into Litigation owing to their financial conditions or lack of initial support from their families.
In its maiden year of execution, CAN Foundation, after a thorough screening process, has finalized the names of the first group of selected scholars under the Project. The selected candidates for the year 2020-21 comprise Mr. Chitwan Sharma (NLSIU), Mr. Kirt Agarwal (NLUD), Ms. Samikshya Thapa (GNLU) and Ms. PrernaShaha(GNLU). The candidates shall be paid a scholarly stipend ranging between Rs. 15,000-18,000 per month from the date of starting their professional practice before any Court in the Country.
Throwing light on the procedural aspect of the Project, for selection of scholars under the Project, applications were invited from young Law Graduates from National Law Universities(NLUs) from all over the Country. These applications underwent a thorough assessment and screening by the Tier 1 Scrutiny Committee which comprises Advocates, Alumni of NLUs and young eminent Counsels practicing before the Supreme Court and other Courts of the Country. The meticulous report prepared by this Scrutiny Committee was then forwarded to the Selection Panel comprising Prof. (Dr.) V. Vijayakumar (President, Consortium of NLUs), Mr.Vikramjit Banerjee (Additional Solicitor General for India, Supreme Court), and Mr. Sumeet Malik (Editor, SCC Online and EBC Group).
The “Tier 1 Scrutiny Committee” comprised young eminent Lawyers of the country namely Mr. Amalpushp Shroti (Advocate on Record, Supreme Court),Mr. Arjun Harkauli (Advocate on Record, Supreme Court of India &Alumnus, NLSIU, Bangalore),Mr. T. Singh Deo (Advocate, Delhi High Court), Mr. Rishad Ahmed Chowdhury (Advocate on Record, Supreme Court &Alumnus, WBNUJS, West Bengal), Mr. Mrigank Prabhakar (Advocate on Record, Supreme Court & Alumnus NALSAR, Hyderabad).
Given the journey made so far in terms of carrying some of the noble pursuits and successfully implementing some ambitious projects such as Project Dhananjay, the Foundation extends its heartiest gratitude to its Patrons namely Mr. Raju Ramchandran, Mr. Shyam Divan, Mr. Siddharth Luthra and Mr. Nidhesh Gupta, all of whom are esteemed Senior Advocates before the Supreme Court of India. It is with their generous donations that the Foundation has been able to achieve its objective and march ahead on the path of success with respect to Project Dhananjay.