In Conversation with (Dr.) Yogesh Pratap Singh, Head - Glocal Law School, Saharanpur
Dr. Yogesh Pratap Singh earned his LLM (with specialization in Human Rights Laws) from National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore and MA in Ancient Indian History from the University of Allahabad. He was awarded Ph.D. in the year 2014 on his thesis "Contribution of Dissenting Opinions of Indian Supreme Court Judges to the Indian Legal System: A Critical Evaluation". His thesis was acknowledged as a significant contribution to the understanding of voting patterns of judges in the Supreme Court of India. He has worked as a law trainee in the Supreme Court of India under the guidance of Hon'ble Justice SB Sinha, Senior Judge, Supreme Court of India. He has worked as a Legal Researcher in the Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK), Dehradun. He participated in the 39th Annual Session on International Human Rights Law organized by the International Institute of Human Rights, Strasbourg, France. Mr. Yogesh has also been a part of Ciedhu programme in France conducted for University Teachers.
He was a part of the founding faculty of the KIIT Law School, KIIT University, Bhubaneswar. Dr. Singh has presented numerous papers on social and legal issues at various national and international seminars. He has been consistently writing in the field of law in reputed law chronicles, national and international law journals. He is at present credited with two books and 10 research articles. His current areas of interest include Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Law of Tort and Human Rights. He was heading the School of Public Law at NLUO before joining Glocal Law School, Saharanpur. Presently he is on lien to Glocal Law School, Saharanpur as a Head of the School.
Live Law: Hello Sir, we all know you as a Law Scholar and a commendable constitutional law teacher. How would you like to introduce yourself to all our readers?
Dr. Yogesh Pratap Singh: Thank you so much for giving me such an opportunity to share my views on the vital issues of law teaching and law schools. I would introduce myself only as a student of constitutional law. Being “fundamental law of superior obligation” every student of law must have knowledge of the basic tenets of the Constitution. As a teacher of Constitutional Law I emphasize on two significant issues- that is, to discuss the fundamental concepts in very simple and easy language so that all students can comprehend it and to share with the students how over the years the Apex Court has provided critical interpretation of such concepts and analysis thereof as the final interpreting authority for all legal purposes.
Live Law: Sir you have varied experiences to your credit, could you tell us about your experience as a law trainee in the Supreme Court of India under the guidance of Hon'ble Justice SB Sinha, Senior Judge, Supreme Court of India.
Dr. Yogesh Pratap Singh: It was a very enriching experience. Justice S.B. Sinha is one of the finest judges which the Supreme Court of India saw in the recent past and I feel very fortunate to have learnt many intricacies of law from him, especially his emphasis on every word used in the statute.
Live Law: Sir, talking about your thesis "Contribution of Dissenting Opinions of Indian Supreme Court Judges to the Indian Legal System: A Critical Evaluation," how would you sum up the voting patterns of judges in the Supreme Court of India today?
Dr. Yogesh Pratap Singh: My data collections and analysis thereof show very surprising and disturbing trends. Though it is not possible to sum up here but I can say that there are many factors other than “law and facts” which play crucial role in influencing the decision making in the Supreme Court. The role of politics can also not be denied.
Live Law: Please tell us how you joined Glocal Law School, Sharanpur?
Dr. Yogesh Pratap Singh: If you see my past you will find that I always happened to be a part of a new institution. First, our team headed by Prof. Mustafa established KIIT Law School and then we moved to Cuttack to establish National Law University Odisha. We also helped Professor Gurjeet Singh establish National Law University and Judicial Academy Assam. Considering this, the management of Glocal University requested me to help them in establishing the Glocal Law School. More so, given that Glocal Law School is in my home state, I took it to be a wonderful opportunity of contributing in the academic development of my parent state. In order to make it possible I took a lien of one year from NLUO to lay the foundation of the Glocal Law School.
Live Law: Prof. Dr. Faizan Mustafa in a recent interview with live law expressed that the recruitment of Assistant Professor, B.A.LL.B. should be made qualification instead of LL.M. with NET and LL.M. should be done only in service. He also has written a letter to Bar Council of India regarding this. Would you like to comment on this?
Dr. Yogesh Pratap Singh: Professor Mustafa is my mentor and guide and I started my teaching career under his able guidance. I very well remember our discussion on this issue and I am in complete agreement with him. At the same time we have to also recognize the value of LL.M. course, otherwise it would become redundant. However, the Bar Council of India and the University Grants Commission has to prepare detailed guidelines on this issue.
Live Law: Sir, being a Faculty yourself, what are your comments on the ‘Dearth of Good Law Teachers’ in National Law Universities across India?
Dr. Yogesh Pratap Singh: Teachers in this country are not given due importance as we see in Europe and the United States. Because of this only few people join this profession by choice. Though there is a change in the salary structure, still it is not comparable to other professionals. The idea of National Law Universities has also over the years failed to produce, train and retain good law teachers. In most of the law universities there are no proper service regulations and financial regulations and as a result of which teachers are appointed, remunerated, promoted and terminated at the mercy of the Vice-Chancellors. National Law Universities could have been a role model for making teaching as a carrier by passion but unfortunately it failed.
Live Law: why did you choose to work for RLEK, Dehradun? Please share your experience there.
Dr. Yogesh Pratap Singh: Actually I did my internship with RLEK in 2005 and during this period I travelled to various parts of Uttarakhand and organized legal literacy camps for the poor and the downtrodden. I immensely enjoyed this work. Later, the Chairman of RLEK “Padmashree Mr. Awadhash Kaushal” visited NLSIU in relation to one conference and there he asked me to come and work for some time in RLEK. I worked in the State of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana on many projects of legal literacy sponsored by UNDP and National Legal Services Authority of India. It was a very enriching experience.
Live Law: Sir, out of all your experiences with RLEK, as a law trainee and a teacher which do you find the most fulfilling and why?
Dr. Yogesh Pratap Singh: Right from the beginning I had decided to join academics. It was by chance that Mr. Awadhesh Kaushal asked me to join RLEK but I really enjoyed the work. Teaching is my passion however; even today I would like to do similar kind of work which I did in RLEK. That gives a different kind of mental satisfaction.
Live Law: what are the pros & cons of being a faculty at a National Law University?
Dr. Yogesh Pratap Singh: The positive aspect of working in NLUs are many for instance, you get to share number of academic and administrative responsibilities at an early stage of your career which helps shaping the personality of a law teacher better. You also get exposed to the academic rigor that helps law teachers in emerging as a good researcher along with improving classroom teaching. As far as negative aspects are concerned the list is now-a-days growing, to mention a few such as, no regulations, no sense of security etc.
Live Law: National Law University Odisha performed exceptionally well in 2013-14 when you were the Faculty in charge of The Moot Society of National Law University Odisha. Sir what do you think was the reason for this success?
Dr. Yogesh Pratap Singh: There are two things required for a good mooting culture, one we need to create a good environment where students are encouraged for mooting and second creation of a good library for research. I tried to create an ambience where every student in the University gets an ample opportunity to participate in the moot court. We invited winners of several prestigious moots to mentor our moot teams. Luckily, I got a very dedicated moot society who worked very hard towards this mission. At the same time, as library In-Charge, I tried to procure quality books and reports in the library which helped our teams prepare better and win many best memorial awards.
Live Law: Sir, according to you, who are the eminent jurists in and from India?
Dr. Yogesh Pratap Singh: There are many but I am particularly impressed with the writings of Professor Upendra Baxi and Professor Pradyumna Kumar Tripathi.
Live Law: What are the opportunities that are open today to Law Teachers/Professors? How does one grow in this area and what are the differences from earlier?
Dr. Yogesh Pratap Singh: In the present time law teaching has opened new avenues. I remember the appointment of Professor Shridhar as the Information Commissioner, but still I want to see the time when Law Professors are considered for the appointment as a judge of the High Court and Supreme Court. Law Professors should also be given right to practice along with teaching.
Live Law: Sir, what are your thoughts on human rights still being considered the white man’s burden?
Dr. Yogesh Pratap Singh: Partially I agree because even today major part of our population does not know about their basic rights. The kind of rights revolution which occurred in the United States, Britain and Canada could not emerge in India because of several reasons: Poor governance, low level of literacy, lack of support structure etc. Our Supreme Court phenomenally contributed in upholding the human rights values in India but we still have a long way to go in order to realize human rights in its true sense and spirit.
Live Law: Sir, did you visit the ECtHR in Strasbourg while you were there, would it be possible to devise a similar mechanism for the South East Asian Context?
Dr. Yogesh Pratap Singh: I visited ECtHR in Strasbourg in the year 2007 and was really impressed by the decisions of this court which I used to refer in my teaching of Civil Liberties as part of the Constitutional Law Course. A similar mechanism can be developed but given the push and pull amongst the South East Asian States it seems difficult in near future.
Live Law: Sir, please leave a motivational message to all your students and our readers.
Dr. Yogesh Pratap Singh: Law, lawyers, law teachers have a great role in the society. In every society there is a wide gap between the people and the justice delivery system. Do not forget your duty to contribute towards improving legal education. This would possibly lead to manufacturing of socially relevant lawyers and judges who may someday change the justice delivery system and ensure that justice reaches the door step of the most downtrodden in the society.
We thank you so much for you time Sir. We wish you best of health and happiness.