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JGLS scoops 3 former vice chancellors as profs: Baxi, MP Singh, Chimni + BB Pande to boost research, teaching, PhDs

Professors Baxi, MP Singh, BB Pande, Chimni join Jindal (left to right)
Professors Baxi, MP Singh, BB Pande, Chimni join Jindal (left to right)

JGLS Sonepat has hired Prof Upendra Baxi, Prof BS Chimni, Prof Mahendra Pal Singh, and Prof BB Pande as professors who will teach and conduct research at the law school full-time.

Three have been former vice chancellors (VCs) of universities: Baxi was formerly Delhi University’s vice chancellor, Singh was former VC of NUJS Kolkata from 2006 until 2011 and Chimni was Singh’s predecessor VC at NUJS from 2004 to 2006.

Pande was former professor-in-charge at Delhi University’s Campus Law Centre (CLC).

They will join JGLS and its parent Jindal Global University (JGU) as:

  • Baxi: Research Professor of Law, Distinguished Scholar in Public Law & Jurisprudence,
  • Chimni, Distinguished Professor of International Law, Member Law School Doctoral Committee,
  • Pande: Research Professor of Law, Distinguished Scholar in Criminal Law & Criminal Justice, and
  • Singh: Research Professor of Law, Distinguished Scholar in Public Law & Comparative Law, Director, Centre for Comparative Law & Chairman, Law School Doctoral Committee.

Founding VC of OP Jindal Global University and JGLS dean Prof C Raj Kumar told us that all four would be teaching as well as doing research: “For example, Prof Baxi and Pande will teach one course each; Profs MP Singh and Chimni will teach courses, but will also take academic administrative responsibilities.”

Singh would chair JGLS’ doctoral committee, according to Kumar: “We have a doctoral programme but one of main challenges [in Indian legal education...] is poorly developed doctoral programmes.”

“You’ll find the top crop of students are largely in regular undergraduate programmes, then you get the next round of LLM and by time you come to PhD, there is a lot of mediocrity deeply embedded in doctoral programmes,” he added. “If you look around the world the doc is feeder into academia.”

“One of our goals is that we have a really strong doctoral programme,” he explained, noting that there was no one better than Singh - who has had both civil law and common law experience - to chair, and Chimni to be a member of the committee.

The four won’t be resident on the Sonepat campus but would travel to campus from Delhi, though they may stay in Sonepat during their teaching duties, said Kumar.

When asked about whether any of the former VCs would be taking over the running of the law school from him, he said: “They have been my mentors but they’re coming here for a different purpose, a calling that has brought them for non-administration.

“Their main goal is to inspire young people, both young people and students, and research for their publications.”

Statements

In a press statement, Kumar said: “They are outstanding professors of law and have mentored generations of lawyers, law professors, judges and many other individuals who have shaped the law and justice systems in India and around the world for nearly half a century. It is a proud moment for JGU that they have decided to spend the important years of their life and their future dedicating to the cause of higher education and legal education mentoring the students and faculty of JGU.”

Baxi, who is also Professor Emeritus at the University of Warwick, with an undergraduate from Rajkot (Gujarat University), and LLM degrees from University of Bombay and University of California at Berkeley (from which he also obtained a Doctorate in Juristic Sciences), said in a statement:

It seems like yesterday that we launched the Jindal Global Law School. But it was ten years ago when I said that a new era in legal education in India was beginning and it will be known as Naveen–Raj epoch. That prophecy is happily proved correct. Since that event, eight other faculties have been created, many centres of high quality research have been established, many laurels won by colleagues and the class, and a different glass ceiling has been broken by JGU being recognized as an ‘institution of eminence’ and achieved many a breakthroughs in the world education ranking systems. For the rapid expansion to a full-blooded university, its incredible faculty and students, its Indian and overseas placements, and global ranking, the one person primarily responsible is Professor C. Raj Kumar. Far from just being an island of excellence, he has given a new meaning, in such a short time, to educational process and change in India. It is difficult to believe that such a miracle has happened, but it has. No amount of the stress and strain of routinization can now interrupt this incredible and worldwide charisma that JGU has acquired as its symbolic capital. For a decade now, I have been a proud witness of this miracle and among those who helped along its academic growth.

Singh, who has an LLD from the University of Lucknow, LLMs from Columbia Law School the University of Lucknow and BA LLB. from Agra University, was also formerly dean at the Faculty of Law of the University of Delhi. He said:

The essence and processes of law and legal systems around the globe are immensely interesting and challenging requiring lifetime commitment even to grasp a tiny element of it. Having engaged in this exercise in different institutions in the East and the West let it have its final destination at O.P. Jindal Global University and Jindal Global Law School, founded and led by one of our most illustrious former student Professor Dr. Raj Kumar. I am indeed looking forward to working with many outstanding faculty members from India and around the world who have made Jindal their home. I am looking forward to be part of JGU in the next few months. Hope it will be my final and best destination in my long journey in academics.

Pande, who has a BSc, LLB and LLM from the University of Lucknow, said:

Law is a complex as well as a dynamic phenomenon. Its complexity lies primarily in the multiple factors that go into its making, interpretation and enforcement, all of which are influenced by the ideology, thinking and attitudes of those responsible for the law in action. The dynamic element of the law in a product of everyday construction and de-construction of the law in the court-rooms and in the class-rooms, as well as police stations and prisons. The dynamism of law in-turn influenced by the perceptions of the one who is exposed to the law- the teacher or the learner. As a teacher of Criminal Laws my perceptions about the law have undergone significant changes over the period of the six decades. I deem it a privilege that I will have the opportunity of pursue some of these enquiries in my forthcoming assignment with the Jindal Global University early next year. It has been possible because of the dynamic Vice Chancellor Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar’s vision to expose the young and inquisitive students of Jindal Global Law School to the generational understanding and changing perceptive of the ‘power’ of the law, coming straight from the experiences of the one who has faced the change himself. Hope this inter-face provides new insights to the understanding of the theory and action relating to the rule of the law in the coming new India.

Chimni had retired in 2017 as Professor of International Law, School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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