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Volume 5, Issue 10 | October 2021

JGU holds H.R. Bhardwaj Memorial Lecture; establishes fellowships & awards in his memory

To honour the memory of the former Union Minister of Law & Justice, Dr. H.R. Bhardwaj, JGU hosted on October 10 the inaugural Memorial Lecture on “Law, Democracy and The Idea of India” by Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha.


This lecture took place in the presence of Justice Ashok Mathur, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India. JGU also announced the institutionalisation of awards, faculty fellowships and student scholarships to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. H.R. Bhardwaj.


JGU has institutionalised multiple forms of awards and recognition to commemorate the memory of Dr. H.R. Bhardwaj, besides the annual Memorial Lecture. The Dr. H.R. Bhardwaj Memorial Gold Medal will be awarded to a student of Jindal Global Law School who stands first in the course on Constitutional Law at the university’s convocation ceremony. There will be an annual moot court competition and JGU will institute the Dr. H.R. Bhardwaj International Faculty Fellowship to be awarded to a distinguished young scholar annually.


In the welcome address, the Founding Vice Chancellor of JGU, Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar said, “More than a decade ago, in 2004, I had the privilege of presenting my paper on ‘Establishing India’s First Global University’ in the esteemed presence of Dr. Bhardwaj. He was gracious enough to take time out on the eve of Independence Day to allow me to further elaborate on my vision. This discussion stretched to over two hours, and a few weeks later, Dr. Bhardwaj introduced me to our Benefactor and Founding Chancellor, Naveen Jindal. The rest is history. We will always be grateful to Dr. Bhardwaj for having faith in our vision, and giving us the platform to make this dream of world-class education in India a reality. We feel truly privileged, fortunate and humbled to have such an inspirational leader as our mentor and guide. His presence will always be missed, and we are truly honoured to spend this occasion with members of his family and his loved ones.”


During the Inaugural Memorial lecture, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha said, “The late Dr. H.R. Bhardwaj had a distinguished political and legal career that can scarcely be matched. His deep knowledge of the law was developed through decades of public service during which he served as a five-term parliamentarian, the Union Minister of Law and Justice and the Governor of Karnataka and my own home state, Kerala. His contributions to legal and judicial reforms such as pressing for women’s right to property, the introduction of rural courts and improving access to justice for all, the right to information act and fighting for reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and in legislative assemblies, as well as his encouragement, which Dr. Raj Kumar has described so well to our hosts at JGU, to establish and develop their fine institution, have been of incalculable benefit to the social and legal progress in India.”


Elaborating on the theme of the lecture, ‘Law, Democracy & The Idea of India’, Dr. Tharoor observed, “It’s in many ways a fitting theme, given the current state of our nation. But what does the idea of India even mean? The idea of India is in some form or another arguably as old as antiquity itself and numerous other proofs of the aspiration for cultural unity that appear throughout the history of our civilisation. India as a modern nation state based on a certain conception of human rights and citizenship, vigorously backed by due process of law and equality before the law, is a relatively recent and strikingly modern idea. But the modern idea of India, despite the mystical influence of Tagore and the spiritual and moral influences of Gandhiji and others, is a robustly secular and legal construct based upon the vision and intellect of our founding fathers — notably Ambedkar, Nehru and Patel — and the Preamble of the Constitution itself is the most eloquent enumeration of this vision.”


Justice Ashok Mathur, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India, delivered the Presidential Address. He highlighted the impact of Dr. Bhardwaj’s work, and said, “Dr. H.R. Bhardwaj was himself a  prolific writer and was the author of seminal works. He had a great heart and he never discriminated on the grounds of any religion or caste. Dr. Bhardwaj was always involved in great service to the judiciary.”