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Day 37 – Q 4.Can a person having no or little legal acumen be a good public servant? Examine.

4. Can a person having no or little legal acumen be a good public servant? Examine.   

क्या कोई व्यक्ति जिसे के बराबर या बहुत कम कानूनी कुशाग्रता है, एक अच्छा लोक सेवक हो सकता है? जांच करें।


Legal acumen refers to skills in making correct decisions and judgments in the field of law. Public servants are those professionals who want to achieve the public good above all else in their work. 


Public servant’s prime goal is to bring justice in society. This requires awareness of rights and duties of people. For this, awareness of relevant laws is necessary. Further legal acumen enables one to propose necessary correction in laws to align it with principle of natural justice. Legal acumen also enables one to unearth scams and corruption cases, hurting public interest the most.  

  • Gandhiji fought legal battles in South Africa to win rights for Indians and Africans there. He also, using his legal acumen, successfully bargained for partial debt right-off of poor indigo farmers.  
  • Legal acumen of Moti Lal Nehru and others made ‘Nehru report’ possible which showed that Indians capable of legislating for themselves. The report fulfilled many aspirations of Indians, thus serving public interest.  
  • Due to the legal acumen of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, he headed the drafting committee in the constituent assembly. This enabled him to serve people and uplift the downtrodden through liberating provisions of Indian constitution. 
  • Sanjiv Chaturvedi, because of his aptitude in following money trails, unearthed many corruption cases.
  • Harish Salve, due to his legal acumen, defended Kulbhushan Yadav at International Court of Justice, serving the interest of people of India. 

However, legal acumen is not necessary criterion for public service. Neither is legal acumen guarantee for welfare of people. Public service is more driven by values and emotional intelligence. Empathy, compassion, dedication and spirit of public service are prime drivers of public service. 

  • Many, Prime Ministers, including the current one, do not have background in law. Still due to leadership ability and dedication towards nations, they are headed the largest democracy in the world.
  • Reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Mother Teresa, and present social workers like Kailash Satyarthi are driven by empathy and compassion for people. 
  • Subash Palekar is doing extraordinary work in the field of “Zero Budget Natural farming”, having potential to alleviate the distress form crores of farmers.
  • Prashant Nair has earned fame due to initiatives like ‘Operation Sulaimani’, ‘Compassionate Kozhikode’ etc. His success in public service is due to compassion and spirit of public service, rather than legal acumen.  
  • Public service of Ajit Doval is due to extra-ordinary courage and emoptional intelligence he displayed throughout his career. 


Legal acumen do helps in developing ability to leally fight injustice. This is the reason why basic knowledge of IPC and CrPC is imparter to trainee civil servants during the course of their training. However public service is driven and sustained by foundational values like empathy, compassion, tolerance, courage among others. These values must be imbibed first. Legal acumen can bring additional ability to serve people. 

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