“I Have Come To Bury The Past”: HNLU Chancellor Addresses Students After VC’s Resignation

“I Have Come To Bury The Past”: HNLU Chancellor Addresses Students After VC’s Resignation

Justice AK Tripathi, the Chief Justice of the Bilaspur High Court, paid an honorary visit to Hidayatullah National Law University (HNLU) on Sunday.

Justice Tripathi addressed the students, teachers and staff of the University and delivered an emotional speech in the aftermath of the resignation of the University’s VC, Prof. (Dr) Sukhpal Singh following hunger strike by the students.

He spoke of the toppling of the administration under Dr. Singh’s leadership, and the opportunity to start afresh, saying, “Friends, Romans and countrymen, I have not come to bury Caesar. Caesar has already been buried on the 3rd. I have come to bury the past. Let's draw the curtains on the bygone era. We have to now start building it afresh. It is my request to all the revolutionaries amongst the students, employees, faculty that they must return to the barracks. The revolution is over. The Czar is toppled.”

He then urged the students to bring accolades and reestablish the high standards of legal education at HNLU. Promising the students good faculty and a considerate administration, he highlighted the fact that in this quest for success, both the students and the authorities will have to work hand in hand.

“The time to build the nation has begun. For that we need a contribution from every quarters. We have come here to create atmosphere of the information where the primary focus of acquiring knowledge and skills which is going to stand by you,” he said.

He also assured the students that prompt action would be taken henceforth on all grievances raised by them, and that he would not be a silent spectator in dealing with the issues that plague HNLU.

“I have come to assure all of you that now HNLU is going to make a new beginning. We are all going to out our best to make sure that not only the respect but even the talent is noticed by one and all. Please focus your energy in academics. Enough of time, blood, sweat and tears have gone on other activities. Request the faculty to give their best…

…This institution has laurels. Somehow that energy got down diverted. The academics has taken a toll. I have a lot of emotions and expectations,” he added.

He ended his speech by acknowledging that it was the VC who was in the wrong in the entire scheme of things, saying, “The first thing which came to my mind and somebody also said was maybe the vastu of this place is wrong. To my mind it was yathastu (VC) that was wrong.”

Responding to his assurance, the Student Bar Association appealed to the students to aim for success in all academic fields “because, now, like never before, the University is ours and all its resources are at our full disposal”.

It may be recalled here that former judge of Chhattisgarh High Court, Justice Chandra Bhushan Bajpai was appointed as the new VC on October 3, after Dr. Singh’s resignation. The appointment came after week-long student protests at HNLU culminated into Dr. Singh’s resignation.

Dr. Singh’s tenure had been cut short by the Chattisgarh High Court in August, with the court ruling that his 2014-term extension was prematurely made without any legal sanction. He had, however, re-assumed charged as the VC, in view of a Supreme Court stay on the High Court judgment, reigniting student protests.

Bowing down to their demands, he finally stepped down on October 1.

Read the full text of the speech here

I saw so many smiling faces. Keep it that way. I'm getting a little emotional (voice cracks). I don't want my children to suffer. The day I came to know that my children are going on a fast, i could neither sleep nor eat properly. That was the day I decided that curtains have to be drawn on the era which is the reason for all the friction and bad blood which was created in the university. 

Friends, Romans and countrymen, I have not come to bury Caesar. Caesar has already been buried on the 3rd. I have come to bury the past. Let's draw the curtains on the bygone era. We have to now start building it afresh. It is my request to all the revolutionaries amongst the students, employees, faculty that they must return to the barracks. The revolution is over. The czar is toppled. The time to build the nation has begun. For that we need contribution from every quarters. We have come here to create atmosphere of the information where the primary focus of acquiring knowledge and skills which is going to stand by you. It makes it 15 years of establishment. I have been involved with institution making. I was a student of prof Madhava Menon. Somehow he convinced me to take up law. He knew his students better than they knew themselves. When he joined as a secretary of the bar council and the concept of 5 year course was mooted, I was fortunate to be a part of the exchange of ideas. There were so many critics. History has proven it otherwise. What he foresaw and what he thought of as the only way of turning around the legal education of this country has proved to be prophetic. The success story of Bangalore has been replicated in many other places. If respect has been brought back to the legal profession, the 5 year course has played a very significant role. There are stories that these students join only law firms. That is integral. It shows the quality, capability of these colleges. I'll deal with that separately. 

I have come to assure all of you that now hnlu is going to make a new beginning. We are all going to out our best to make sure that not only the respect but even the talent is noticed by one and all. Please focus your energy in academics. Enough of time, blood, sweat and tears have gone on other activities. Request the faculty to give their best .

When NUJS was set up by Prof Madhava Menon, he was in touch with me. There were certain misgivings. NUJS didn't make a name because it was located in Calcutta. It was noticed because 2nd year students won an international moot court in Vienna. That's when NUJS came into limelight. 

This institution has laurels. Somehow that energy got down diverted. The academics has taken a toll. I have a lot of emotions and expectations.

Justice delivery on this country has to be bettered. Legal profession needs these universities. We want quality people to come in. Focus on studies. Bring laurels to the Univ. I will stand by you. I will not only be a silent spectator. I will make sure that whatever is required to be done for the University is done within a reasonable time frame .

We will prioritise on issues that need immediate attention. Recently I attended the GC meeting and convocation of NLS. Quality tecahers is one issue that cant be resolved overnight. I'm told large number of teachers were made to leave this univ. Will request them to return home and contribute to the building of HNLU. HNLU has to achieve the landmark for which it was envisaged.

The first thing which came to my mind and somebody also said was maybe the vastu of this place is wrong. To my mind it was yathastu (VC) that was wrong. Thank you.