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Hunt on for new NUJS VC, academic preferred; MP Singh retires to write book on nature of law

Professor (Dr) Singh: Academically minded
Professor (Dr) Singh: Academically minded
Exclusive: NUJS Kolkata vice chancellor Mahendra Pal Singh, who is due to retire on 30 November to pursue personal legal writing projects, said his successor should have a strong academic background while also having to be deal with infrastructure and other problems at the college.

Singh said: “I would wish that whoever is appointed is a person of some academic intuition and not purely an administrator. But at the same time the person must also be ready or willing to give up some of his personal interests or academic interests in favour of the university.

“Whoever accepts vice chancellorship, the university must be the first priority; personal academic ambitions and his engagements must come next.”

Singh, who taught at the University of Delhi 1997 to 2005, said that during his five year tenure at NUJS he had tried to make some improvements on the academic side both “at the level of the faculty and engagement of the students in serious research”.

“But at the same time there are a number of things where further improvements are needed. [And on] infrastructure we are weak in a number of ways – particularly the space where we are is very narrow and we are facing serious problems particularly for hostels, since the university is residential and most of its facilities are open 24 hours.”

He noted that the college did not have any space on campus but was expecting the state government to grant a “convenient place where we can move further and expand”, although only preliminary suggestions have so far been received that have not yet been taken further.

Singh added that there was also a lot of scope for expanding programmes of study in the social sciences space. NUJS was planning to start a degree on law and management, as well as start up a center for law and public policy, which had already been approved. “There is a need to attract persons from other disciplines to the university, which are aligned disciplines.”

Singh told Legally India that after his retirement he would privately like to continue with research and writing, not necessarily in any academic institution.

“There are a number of areas in which I have been thinking [of researching further] apart from some of the books I have already done that need to be revised

One is [VN] Shukla’s Constitution of India, which I have been revising for the last couple of years,” he said.

“And for a long time I have been thinking of writing something on the nature and understanding of the Indian legal system. That appears to be sort of a lifelong plan which I have been dreaming about for a long time.”

He said that he would retire on 30 November but his sympathies would always remain with the college and he would assist whenever there was anything he could do even after his retirement.

Singh was head and dean of Delhi University’s faculty of law from 1994 to 1997, having also taught at Meerut from 1964 to 1970, and having held fellow and visiting professor roles at colleges such as University of Heidelberg in Germany, and universities in Hong Kong, Osaka, Singapore, Berlin and Beijing.

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