•  •  Dark Mode

Your Interests & Preferences

I am a...

law firm lawyer
in-house company lawyer
litigation lawyer
law student
aspiring student

Website Look & Feel

 •  •  Dark Mode
Blog Layout

Save preferences

Big day tomorrow: NLU Delhi founder Ranbir Singh to continue as prof emeritus • GC to pick from Jaswal, Rao, Wani as successor

L to r: Potential Singh successors Wani, Jaswal, Rao up for NLU Delhi VC-ship
L to r: Potential Singh successors Wani, Jaswal, Rao up for NLU Delhi VC-ship

Prof Ranbir Singh, NLU Delhi’s founding vice chancellor (VC) who has served in the position for 11 years, is due to retire tomorrow (23 September), though he will continue to stay at the NLU as professor emeritus from 24 September.

However, nearly one year after the university had advertised to find his replacement, the university has still not officially confirmed a successor to Singh.

All now rests on the governing council (GC), which is scheduled to meet tomorrow but failing which NLU Delhi would be without a VC.

The search committee, consisting of NLU Jabalpur VC Prof Balraj Chauhan, NLIU Bhopal VC Prof V Vijaykumar and Delhi high court Justice GS Sistani, had forwarded their recommendations already by March 2020, perhaps even earlier.

Since then, neither the Delhi high court chief justice, acting as the university’s chancellor, nor NLU Delhi, had pushed the process forward.

We understand from two independent authoritative sources with knowledge of the process that the committee had shortlisted and recommended the following three applicants for the position.

  • Prof Paramjit Jaswal, VC of RGNUL Patiala;
  • Prof Srikrishna Deva Rao, currently the VC of NLU Odisha; and
  • Prof Afzal Wani, dean of University School of Law and Legal Studies (USSLLS), which is part of Guru Gobind Singh IP University (GGSIPU).

We have reached out to all of them for comment but they either declined to comment or did not respond for requests for comment.

None of the ones we managed to speak to had heard from NLU Delhi or the search committee since their interview, and were not aware of any official notification that they had been shortlisted.

We had also reached out to Singh, NLU Delhi registrar Prof BS Bajpai and other members of the administration, who either declined to comment or did not respond to our requests.

Long time coming

Ranbir Singh’s term had already seen one standard five-year extension in 2013, and had been extended from 20 July 2018 until 23 September 2019, when he saw another extension for up to one year or “till the date the new Vice-Chancellor assumes office, whichever is earlier”, according to a notification from 20 July 2018.

Singh had turned 70 years old on 23 September 2019, after which, under the university’s governing statute, he had been allowed one final extension of one year.

The GC meeting tomorrow, presided over by NLU Delhi’s chancellor - the Delhi high court chief justice Dhirubhai Naranbhai Patel - will have the power to recommend a new VC according to its governing act.

However, the visitor the the university - Supreme Court Justice NV Ramana, if present, can also preside over the GC.

If no decision is taken, the chancellor has the authority to designate a professor of the university to “perform the functions of the Vice-Chancellor until the new Vice-Chancellor assumes his office”.

Under section 20(3) of the Act, the chancellor also the power to call for “fresh recommendations” if they do “not approve of any of the persons so recommended”.

Besides Patel and Singh, the GC of NLU Delhi also includes:

  • three other Delhi high court judges,
  • chairman of the Bar Council of India (BCI) and the Delhi bar council,
  • Prof Upendra Baxi,
  • NLU Delhi registrar Prof GS Bajapi,
  • solicitor general of India Tushar Mehta, and
  • several functionaries of the Delhi government.

Click to show 54 comments
at your own risk
By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.