Interview with Prof (Dr.) Sreenivasulu N.S, Professor, NUJS Kolkata & Member of International Council of Jurists, (ICJ) London

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Swastika Nandwani
I am a third-year student at NMIMS School of Law, Mumbai. My interest lies in Corporate Law and Alternate Dispute Resolution.

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Prof (Dr) Sreenivasulu N.S is working as Professor of Law at National University of Juridical Sciences, (NUJS) Kolkata. He is a Distinguished Member of International Council of Jurists, (ICJ) London. He is a Scientific Member of Canadian Institute For International Law, (CIFILE) Ontario, Canada. He is also associated with the World Commission for Human Rights, London. Professor Sreenivasulu N.S was a faculty at National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore and the University of Mysore before he was selected as Associate Professor at NUJS, Kolkata in 2007 and he was promoted as Professor of Law with effect from the year 2013.

He has been a recognized author and has got to his credit 107 research publications including 7 books published by peer-reviewed and reputed international publishers, 3 monograms 9 edited volumes, 15 book chapters and 73 research papers/articles published in more than 35 varieties of journals and International publishers such as ‘Oxford’ London, UK, ‘Penguin’ Indiana, USA, ‘Springer’ UK, Butterworth’s Lexis Nexis, New Delhi, ‘Yildirim, Ankara/Turkey’ ‘Omicus’ California, USA, and ‘Manupatra’ New Delhi.

Below is the transcript of our recent interaction with Prof. Sreenivasulu.

Swastika: You completed your Bachelor’s degree in Commerce. What motivated you to choose law as a career?

Prof. Sreenivasulu N.S: My father was a Police Officer and hence he had to deal with IPC and CrPC. He used to keep those books with him and frequently used to tell me to opt for law as a career. Therefore, he is the one who inspired me to take up law as a career.

Swastika: You completed your LLB in 2001. Do you feel that the law schools these days are different from that of those days?

Prof. Sreenivasulu N.S: Yes, the LLB course that I did was of three years post-graduation whereas nowadays more or less everywhere we have the five years LLB course. Before 1998, only basic papers such as CPC and CrPC were taught. However, in 1998, when I joined law, the Bar Council of India introduced the semester system and started having 5 papers per semester. This semester system and enhancement of subjects led to the introduction of new subjects such as the Intellectual Property Law, Alternate Dispute Resolution, moot courts, and other clinical papers that we have today. These subjects were introduced in the three-year LLB course by the bar council in the year 1998 and these reforms later became a part of the 5 years LLB course.

Swastika: You did your LLB from Saraswathi Law College, Chitradurga. Do you feel that the students who graduate from National Law Universities have an edge over students who graduate from other universities?

Prof. Sreenivasulu N.S: Saraswathi Law College in Chitradurga is affiliated to Kuvempu University in the central part of Karnataka. Students who graduate from National Law Universities definitely have an edge over students studying from other colleges. I am the best person to say this having studied from a traditional law college and now being a faculty at National Law University, Kolkata. NLU students do not only have a competitive advantage, but they also have a serious advantage as their background is different and they come from elevated families and they must have studied their plus two from better places. They have better infrastructure and a better mode of dissemination compared to people who join traditional law colleges. For example, taking my own case, my entire education happened through government schools and government colleges including my LLB. Given the state of affairs of the Government institutions in the country, you can very well imagine the shortage of faculty, shortage of infrastructure, no library, and forget about online. Therefore, there is a huge difference between Traditional colleges and National Law Schools.

Swastika: You have been a faculty at the National University of Juridical Sciences, (NUJS) Kolkata for over 13 years. Please share your journey from being a legal manager at SDD Global Solutions to being a Professor in Law at one of the most esteemed law universities in India.

Prof. Sreenivasulu N.S: I worked as a legal manager for a brief period at SDD Global Solutions which is a multinational company having their office at Mysore apart from New Jersey, New York, and London during my PhD. After I completed my LLB in 2001, I joined Mysore University for LLM and completed that in 2003. Thereafter I started working as a temporary or a guest faculty at Mysore University and alongside that, I was doing PhD Since my PhD was on Intellectual Property Rights, SDD Global Solutions started the IPR segment in their law firm so they chose me to work for them. in the meantime, when I got an offer from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, as an assistant professor, I left SDD Global Solutions as a legal manager and joined NLS, Bangalore as an assistant professor in 2006. In 2007, Considering me as an exceptional candidate and by reading my contribution to the legal jurisprudence NUJS offered me the associate professor because I had not only a PhD but also a serious amount of research publications. Thereafter, my journey continued there and in 2013, I became a full-fledged professor at NUJS.

Swastika: You have been recognised as an author and have several research publications. Is it necessary for law students to write research papers and participate in various competitions such as moot courts and debates in order to build an impressive CV?

Prof. Sreenivasulu N.S Yes, learning in law, teaching in law, joining in law, and even orientation in law is not going to be complete without research. In fact, research is a fundamental and inseparable portion of any legal learning process. So, as a student, as a scholar, as a teacher, as a lawyer, or as a judge, whatever is your capacity as a member of the legal fraternity, you have to conduct independent research as it is very much required otherwise one cannot understand the basic things and their application in the contemporary world, in the contingent situations and to find solutions of the problems that we face in our day to day life.

Swastika: You completed your PhD in 2006. However, there is a belief in India that PhD is done only by the people who want to pursue a career in the teaching field or research field. Do you feel that this belief is correct or does PhD have a wider scope and opportunities?

Prof. Sreenivasulu N.S I go with the second school of thought mentioned by you that PhD is not only meant for people who are into teaching or academia. There is a stereotype that people who want to join the orthodox profession like teaching would only do a PhD. I do not by this argument as nowadays PhD doe not only allow academicians and professors but also lawyers and judges are doing PhD Basically, whoever wants to get to the roots of any legal issue, they would want to enrol themselves into serious research studies that will not only fetch you a degree but also it will enlarge your legal knowledge and it will give you the wonderful opportunity to contribute to the legal development where you are adding new knowledge to the law and are giving value addition to the existing canopy of law which is a wonderful journey altogether. I recommend everyone in the legal fraternity to think of taking up their independent research because it is not just learning. It is making everyone around you learn something at which you have become a master and doctor.

Swastika: You are associated with the World Commission for Human Rights, London. Do you feel that the Human Rights Laws in London are more concrete and have a stricter implementation as compared to India?

Prof. Sreenivasulu N.S I agree with the fact that the implementation process is better and certainly not only in the UK but in most of the other countries. I agree that people might not like it if I say this but I have been saying it openly in different platforms and public talks and all, in India we have the problem of civility. People often forget that they are human beings. Probably our DNA is having a problem whereby the moment we look at the police or legal enforcement authority, we try to find a way to escape it as we do not like to follow the laws and protocols prepared by or laid down by the police or courts whatsoever. So, we do not have the etiquette or courage to follow the law. This is a basic reason that our enforcement agencies are finding it difficult to implement laws. I will give you my own example when I joined NLS, Bangalore in 2006 as an assistant professor, the then Vice-Chancellor whom I do not want to name, mentioned in a small gathering that the proper implementation of laws in India is a myth. I used to wonder why he is saying such a thing after being a professor for so long and now vice-chancellor of the number one law school in the country. However, now I realise that whatever he said is true because of the lessons that life has taught him or the way he experienced the legal enforcement in India since we lack the ability and etiquettes to follow the rule of law in India as compared to other countries. I will now give a contemporary example of Corona or COVID-19. Across the nation, everyone knows what is going on and the Government of India, as well as the State Governments and local authorities, are vehemently asking people to maintain some amount of hygiene and to maintain social distancing but many people are just not bothered as they believe that they do not have any problem and hence the should not follow. Civility does not only mean you to be good. It means you to be good in order to make others comfortable. You being fit and fine is not sufficient, you have to work in order to make the society around you fit and fine. This civility is something that we do not have. I took this example of COVID-19 as everybody knows that in each and every city of India, COVID is spreading only because we are not following the protocols and guidelines issued by the Government. What I am trying to say is that we do not have the mindset to follow something that has been said by the Government, the police, or something that even we know is good or bad. This is the reason why law enforcement, for law implementation, or simply following the law is a problem in India.

Swastika: A lot of students these days wish to acquire internships in top tier firms in order to add a good value to their CV. However, it is also said these top tier firms do not pay a lot of attention to what the students are gaining through the internship. Do you agree or disagree with this? Also, what are your suggestions to students when it comes to procuring internships?

Prof. Sreenivasulu N.S: The fact that the top tier firms do not pay a lot of attention to what the students are gaining through the internship is true to some extent because these law firms have their own work schedules and deliverables and they are doing a good job by giving an opportunity to law students by giving them internships in order to maintain their CV. After doing so, you cannot expect them to find you and give you serious work. If someone has given you an opportunity, it is entirely your responsibility to make them happy and to attract them. After all, they have given you space in their office and some life experiences. There are more than a thousand law colleges across the country and very few people are able to get that internship and if you are getting that opportunity because you are in well-known law school. There are about 1052 traditional law colleges in the country and their students are not getting these internship opportunities. Therefore, I say that whoever is getting this opportunity should make it worth by putting in their own efforts and they should attract the firm to give them good work and good training. If you are doing good work. helping them out, and assisting their associates properly, they will definitely want you as you are a human resource for them and nobody would want to waste a human resource.

For procuring an internship in a good firm, the students should first of all be honest to themselves and understand in which year and in which paper have they done well and in which area would they like to end up becoming an expert, like corporate law, etc. and accordingly they should go ahead. They should not take up internships just for the sake of getting an entry in the CV or to fulfil the requirements of the Bar Council or the university. Instead, they should be focussed right from year one as to which area would they like to venture into, e.g. Corporates, IPR, Litigation, etc. if they do so, they will work accordingly and they take those papers very seriously and would try to push themselves into that area. Therefore, one should have the clarity of thoughts at the beginning itself and be self-introspective and honest with respect to what they are doing. For getting a good internship, you need to put in efforts in your college as well. You need to sit in the classes and participate in the classroom discussions, be in the library, not for enjoying the AC but for reading. One should do this groundwork first and bring that capacity to the required level and then plan your internships accordingly. If you just end up enrolling yourself in a popular law school and think that after five years you will get away with whatever job possible, it will lead to problems such as law firms not paying attention at you during your internships. However, if you have a clarity of thoughts and have done well in your classroom or academically, that would definitely reflect upon what you do in your internship.

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