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Remembering Professor AK Koul: A Glorious Journey Of Law Teaching And Research Of 50 Years

(Prof. Anand Prakash Mishra
26 April 2021 9:30 AM GMT
Remembering Professor AK Koul: A Glorious Journey Of Law Teaching And Research Of 50 Years
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Professor Autar Krishen Koul (AK Koul) was my first Dean at the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi when I joined my LLB studies at Campus Law Center as a first year student in the year 2000. Little did I know what a great inspiration he will be in my own academic journey like generations of students of law and teachers alike who graduated from the portals of Delhi Law Faculty.After...

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Professor Autar Krishen Koul (AK Koul) was my first Dean at the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi when I joined my LLB studies at Campus Law Center as a first year student in the year 2000. Little did I know what a great inspiration he will be in my own academic journey like generations of students of law and teachers alike who graduated from the portals of Delhi Law Faculty.

After completing his deanship at Delhi University, Prof Koul became the Vice Chancellor of National Law University Jodhpur and provided visionary leadership to the young law school making it one of the most preferred one in the country during his tenure. However, his true academic leadership and administration became visible when he undertook the onerous responsibility to build the new National Law University in Ranchi, Jharkhand. From acquiring land to construction of buildings and recruiting faculty members to developing course curriculum, he did it all and as the Founding Vice Chancellor of National University of Studies & Research in Law (NUSRL) Ranchi, he left when three batches of students start flourishing on the campus with a good set of faculty members recruited by him. Prof. Koul was also instrumental in setting up and strengthening the Law Department at the University of Kashmir, Srinagar.
My personal memory of Prof. Koul goes back to my time as a young first year LLB student who witnessed his exemplary academic leadership when the proceedings of All India Law Teachers Congress (AILTC) set up as a Society in the Law Faculty published a book titled 'Legal Education in India in 21st Century: Problems and Prospects'.
Professor Koul as the Dean of Law Faculty and as the Founder President of AILTC had organised the 4-day marathon conference on legal education, possibly the largest conference ever on the theme of legal education in India in those times. Inaugurated by Hon'ble Justice SB Majumdar of the Supreme Court and presided over by then Vice Chancellor Prof. VR Mehta of University of Delhi, the conference was historic in its scale and impact. Over 200 delegates representing all major law colleges of India presented 50 papers in eight different sessions covering all aspects of legal education. Each session was chaired by luminaries like Hon'ble Justices Sujata V. Manohar, M. Jagannadha Rao and RC Lahoti, eminent lawyers like OP Vaish, Kapil Sibbal, OP Khaitan and renowned Professors like SK Verma, VK Dixit, Parmanand Singh, etc. among others. One can imagine the learnings and inspiration received by the students and young scholars of law in those days.
Later as an LLM student of the Faculty, we had the books and papers written by Professor Koul on WTO and International Trade Law as part of LLM curriculum. His book titled 'Guide to WTO & GATT' was the most popular textbook and authority on the subject in those days. He was also a regular contributor to Delhi Law Review (DLR) the flagship academic journal of Delhi University. Arguably he was the most prominent legal scholar and academic in the field of international trade law and allied areas much ahead of his times.
An LL.B. graduate of Aligarh Muslim University of 1963-66 batch, Prof. Koul completed his LLM and Ph.D. from University of Delhi. Having started his teaching career as a Lecturer in Law Faculty in 1971, he completed 50 years in 2021 as an active law teacher and researcher which is nothing less than a record. He wrote 13 books and numerous papers published by Springer, Satyam Law International, Oxford University Press, etc.
As Professor Koul passed away at the age of 77 on 21st April but he leaves a legacy of teaching, research and institution building for generations of his students to follow.
(Prof. Anand Prakash Mishra is the Associate Dean of Admissions and Associate Professor at Jindal Global Law School in Sonipat. He was a student of Professor Koul in the University of Delhi during 2000-2005.)


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