Tell us about your experience as a practicing lawyer. And how was it different from the academic role?
Court etiquettes, for example, are not taught as part of the standard curriculum in law schools in India. Many countries take a more practical rather than theoretical approach to legal education. As a result, when a student receives their law degree in such countries, he or she is a well-equipped professional. Unfortunately, this is not the case in India, where even after completing a law degree, an aspiring lawyer must still go through the process of practical learning before becoming an independent lawyer. I entered academics to address this issue in the Indian legal education system.
As a lawyer, you are only expected to represent the interest of your client and it is almost impossible to be unbiased. But, as an academician I need to be unbiased towards all the stakeholders of the institute. I always strive to nurture law professionals with a sound moral compass and it is difficult to achieve this goal if I choose to be biased in my approach.
You have deeply studied the aspects of human rights, with regards to women and children. What do you think are the current flaws in the legal system about these issues and how can they be eradicated?
The subject of Human Rights with regards to Women and Children has always been controversial in India. Some people propound the idea of equal rights for all without realising the atrocities that women and children have been subjected to in the past. We cannot deny that in the absence of laws like the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention and Prohibition) Act etc, we lived in a utopic world. These acts have been introduced for a reason. India’s history is testament to many ails like the Sati System, Widow Remarriage, Child Marriage etc. I feel that the fundamental flaw in the legal system for the protection of human rights of Women and Children is absence of knowledge and awareness. Most women and children don’t even realise that they are being harassed as they lack awareness about these heinous acts and think of it as something that is routine and common in nature. Though over the years many bodies like the National Commission for Women have worked well to spread awareness, there is still a long way to go. I have also authored a book titled ‘Crimes and Law Related to Weaker Sections’ in the year 2019 to spread awareness on this issue.
Guiding research students must be an enriching experience. What are the key aspects on which you focus when helping them?
Guiding research scholars is a very enriching experience. As a research guide I encourage my students to openly share their thoughts and ideas. My focus areas as a research guide while helping students are –
- Promoting the use of Empirical Research in Law– Conventionally research in the area of law has been doctrinal in nature. I guide my scholars to develop an understanding of Statistics in Research so that while writing their thesis they are able to back theoretical claims with empirical evidence.
- Open Door Policy – For all my Research Scholars, I follow an Open Door Policy wherein they can come and consult me as per their convenience. This helps the scholars to be motivated as they have a direct access to me.
A unique facet of your life is sports and you have attained credible success in cricket. How was the experience of playing the sport professionally?
As a student, I represented the state of Madhya Pradesh and my University in Cricket at numerous occasions. Cricket has always been an integral part of my life and has helped me a lot in both my personal and professional growth. Being a professional sportsperson requires discipline and I was lucky to imbibe this quality in my life at a young age. Cricket as helped me understand the importance of Team Work, Resource Allocation, Conflict Management and Unity. I use these learnings even today in my role as an Academician.
What would you like to tell our students about the importance of extra-curricular activities in making their academic life more meaningful?
Today’s youth is energetic and full of aspirations but I feel that there is a lack of stress on the importance of physical and mental health. As observed by many research studies, today’s youth is more susceptible to depression and anxiety and lack of enough exercise is attributed as one of the major reasons for these problems. Playing sports and engaging in other Extra-Curricular activities helps build a better body and a sound mind. It builds character and helps a student in understanding the concepts of Punctuality, Regularity, Sincerity, Hard Work, Honest, Essence of Timing, Team Spirit etc. I always encourage my students to take up an extra-curricular activity and be regular with it.