In Conversation with Prof. (Dr.) Purvi Pokhriyal, Director Institute of Law, Nirma University
Prof. (Dr.) Purvi Pokhariyal has been at the helm of affairs at the Institute of Law, Nirma University since the very beginning. Professor Pokhariyal is the Director of the Institute of Law, Nirma University and Dean, Faculty of Law, Nirma University. She specializes in the area of Criminal Justice Studies, Family Jurisprudence and Constitutional Law. She teaches courses on Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR). She has been a consultant and resource person on various aspects of Legal studies for Governmental and Non-Governmental organizations.
Professor Pokhariyal holds Master degree in law with specialization in Criminal Law with first rank from Veer Narmad South Gujarat University, Surat. Professor Pokhariyal pursued her doctoral work in the area of Constitutional Law from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara. She also holds Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management, International Relations and Personal Management from Bhartiya Vidhyabhavan, Mumbai.
Dr. Pokhariyal has several research papers in National and International Journals to her credit. She has lectured extensively at various Universities, National and International conferences. She has 15 years of experience in teaching, research and senior administration. She is at the forefront of Institution building and actively engaged in Clinical Legal Education process.
Live Law: A lot of new law colleges are opening up these days and managing content and quality becomes a tough task for them. How have you managed these things in the race of becoming an ‘NLSIU’?
Dr. Pokhariyal: There is a mushrooming growth of legal education institutions in the country. However, as the Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh observed that most of the legal education institutions sail in mediocrity and there are few island of excellence. ILNU has been set up to promote excellence in the field of legal education. With reference to race of becoming NLUs, I would humbly submit that we do not aspire to be anybody. We would learn best practices institution at all (let the good thoughts come from all directions) and we try to grow at our own. We are benchmarking and growing with our own standards and quality parameters. Our main focus is on justice education and we look at legal education process as the process which ultimately strengthens the democratic values, the rule of law and access of justice. So we are not competing with anyone, we are rising to achieve our own goals and Programmes Educational Objectives.
Live Law: What inspired you to take up law?
Dr. Pokhariyal: I took up law because as a young college student, I used to argue, debate a lot, used to participate in elocution competitions. And after completing B.Sc. (Mathematics) with 84%, I thought I could apply mathematical reasoning in learning law.
Live Law: In this competitive era where everyone is busy minting money, you chose to be the guiding light of a budding Institution, what drove you into this decision and why?
Dr. Pokhariyal: In this competitive era, everyone makes his / her own choice. Some go for money; some go for prestige, some for power, fame, name, recognition so on and so forth. Somewhere I was looking for this kind of opportunity wherein one is able to be with and develop a right kind of institution which makes some meaningful contribution to the society.
I am fortunate enough to have this opportunity to set up legal education institution at a very early age in the year 2005 for the first time wherein we established Baroda School of Legal Studies offering five year integrated law degree programme – a second education institutions in the State of Gujarat offering five year degree programme in law under the aegis of Faculty of Law, M.S. University, Baroda. After two years, I got another opportunity in 2007 to develop a law school under Nirma University. I consider it my privilege to be associated with this law school from its inception and have some sense of satisfaction that within the span of eight years, we could make us visible for quality education in the legal education map of the country.
Live Law: What are the opportunities of placements and internship at ILNU?
Dr. Purvi Pokhariyal: Perhaps ILNU is the only institution offering 10 internship carrying total 22 credits of the programme. These internships are very systematically planned and aligned with the curriculum that is offered at every semester. So this helps the students if they are taking these internships exposure seriously. They have abundant opportunity to learn from the practical field. We have internship policy and guidelines of the evaluation of the internship training that also helps us to keep check on the learning of the students during internship. In addition to this, Institute has dedicated Campus Recruitment Cell along with the dedicated office, discussion rooms, interview rooms etc. Campus Recruitment Cell has dedicated Personnel – Manager Corporate Relations who handles the placement activities along with the Students Recruitment Committee Members. They publish placement brochure, go for PPV, not only this, they also conduct lots of soft skills training programme, MOCK interview sessions, pre-employability test, English proficiency test, drafting proficiency exercise which ultimately prepare the students ready for the placement. However, our more focus is that the students contribute meaningfully at Bench and Bar. So we also have separate classes for the students who are going for judicial services examination and now we are also planning to conduct the classes for preparation of Civil Services Examinations. I think having such kind of exposure; the students are groomed to face all the challenges in professional field.
Live Law: Being a part of the institute since its inception, how would you describe your journey until now?
Dr. Purvi Pokhariyal: Being the founder faculty, it was a huge task in the beginning. I joined as an Assistant Professor and Academic Coordinator at ILNU in the year 2007 wherein you have to start everything from a scratch right from preparing curriculum structure, designing the syllabi, designing the teaching and examination scheme, recruitment of the faculty, training of the faculty, devising the education goals, objectives, identifying the internship structure, establishing linkages with the legal fraternity and much more. As institutions evolve, you also develop yourself as a faculty, as an administrator. I am happy with the growth of the institution and could also develop myself as an administrator. I am happy to set up the institution and to reach to a stage wherein it is notable amongst the legal fraternity.
Live Law: How is ILNU different from other private institutions?
Dr. Purvi Pokhariyal: I would put this question in a way that how ILNU is unique because as said every private education has its own features and characteristics. They all differ with each other in one way or another. I would say ILNU has focused on justice education. Our vision is to become the leading private institution to shape a better future for mankind by developing effective and socially responsible individuals and organizations and our mission is to emphasize on the all-round development of its students. It aims at producing not only good professionals, but also good and worthy citizens of a great country, aiding in its overall progress and development. It endeavors to treat every student as an individual, to recognize their potential and to ensure that they receive the best preparation and training for achieving their career ambitions and life goals and accordingly we have set our programme education objective, our programme learning outcome and mapped it with our each course and their course learning outcome.
The outcome based education approach that we have adopted is to establish a standard of accountability, quality and transparency for all our stakeholders and I think the kind of transparency that you may see in education process, in administrative process is its uniqueness. In addition to this, ILNU has a huge learning research centre. I take this platform to inform you that ILNU is the only Asian Law schools which subscribed CALI (The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction) one of the most renowned legal education database referred by the American Law School. In addition to this, ILNU has also subscribed Westlaw, LexisNexis, Oxford Reports on International Law, Kluver Arbitration Law, Manupatra, Supreme Court Cases (SCC), Corporate Law Adviser, PressDisplay - NewspaperDirect, TAXMANN: Tax & Corporate Laws of India Database, Hein Online - Academic Legal Journals Database, Jstore and many more.
Apart from this, ILNU gives lots of emphasis for overall development and so is always vibrant with number of activities for the holistic development of the students including developing amongst them leadership, planning and organizing skills. Most important ILNU is known for its discipline and attendance standard.
Live Law: Being the Dean as well as a teacher at the Institute, how do you manage your time on a daily basis?
Dr. Purvi Pokhariyal: It is bit challenging to play all three roles - Dean. Director and Professor at law simultaneously and that too in a university sharing the campuses with the other six institutes so lot of time is engaged in university meeting, in planning, in complying etc. Somewhere honestly I feel, a teacher or a professor is lost in administration and I am trying hard to strike a balance between these two roles as an administrator and as a teacher.
Live Law: If someone was considering joining ILNU, what would you tell them?
Dr. Purvi Pokhariyal: All those who are considering joining ILNU, I would like to give message that if you are passionate, committed and wants make a difference in the life of others by contributing something meaningfully for this country through enriching learning experience, you may join.
Live Law: What are the new changes that the institute is facing this year?
Dr. Purvi Pokhariyal: This year we are considering our OBE implementation. We are focusing more on our innovative pedagogy. We have experiential learning in every course, so we are focusing more on affective domains in addition to cognitive development as per bloom’s taxonomy. So in a sense, we are raising to the next higher level of the quality education at ILNU.
Live Law: Could you elaborate more on the concept of smart classrooms that have been set up this year?
Dr. Purvi Pokhariyal: Smart class room is a class room wherein your physical presence becomes immaterial for your deliberations in the class rooms. You may join teacher’s class being anywhere outside the classroom and same way from anywhere outside the institute, teacher may also deliver class and this process is highly integrated wherein one to one discussion is also possible. Not only this, you can also conduct online tests, online responses instantly. Apart from this, video conferencing and live telecasting is also possible through this class room. So we are trying to bring revolution in teaching learning process at ILNU using the latest ICT tools.
Live Law: With the Batch of 2020 starting their journey in the institute, what do you think are the qualities that a law student must possess?
Dr. Purvi Pokhariyal: I am very happy to have batch of 2020. The students are highly motivated, sharp, communicative, reflective and passionate. I feel I have got the right set of students to nurture and groom them as best legal professionals.
Live Law: With successful wins in the BCI Moot Court Competition, 2014 and 2nd VIPS International Moot Court Competition, 2014, how does the institute prepare its students for mooting in the national and international circles?
Dr. Purvi Pokhariyal: With reference to the moot court activities, we have well-defined moot court policy and moot court participation fund wherein the students are not only provided with the fund but also provided with the Academic Exemption Leave. They are provided with the coaches, so ultimately it is ensured that before they go for moot, they are thoroughly prepared.
Live Law: Could you give us an insight on the scholarships provided to meritorious students?
Dr. Purvi Pokhariyal: ILNU is one of the very rare institutes which provide merit and merit cum means scholarship worth of Rs. 50/- lacs. It also provides 2 IDIA (Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access) scholarships to the students on the merits as a part of Institute’s social responsibility to the talented students.
Live Law: Being one of the few Institutes that provide enrichment courses and elective supplementary courses, what is their significance, according to you, in modern day legal education?
Dr. Purvi Pokhariyal: ILNU has a rich curriculum with enrichment courses; value added courses, modular courses, elective supplementary courses, elective honors course in addition to core course and clinical courses. These courses have significance with reference to the holistic development of the students. We focus on the cognitive and affective domain of the students’ development. Additionally through this course, we are also trying to nurture their hidden talent.
Thank you so much Ma’am for taking out time to talk to us. We wish you all health and happiness for future.
Shobhit is an Assistant Editor(Law Firm Section) and Zonal Head Marketing.