•  •  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

NLIU students try to veto Allahabad Uni’s BP Singh as new director choice • Question opacity in director appointment process

Who is fit enough to be next ‘visionary’ director at NLIU Bhopal?
Who is fit enough to be next ‘visionary’ director at NLIU Bhopal?

NLIU Bhopal has hit limbo in the appointment of its next director since Tuesday, as first reported by the Times of India, because students have opposed the nomination of Allahabad University professor Bhanu Pratap Singh to the post, based on the ground that in their opinion several other candidates rejected had far greater fitness for the post.

Prof BP Singh told us today that he has not received any communication to date of his nomination for appointment as NLIU VC, and he is not aware of his selection.

Students learned about the nomination and the recommendations, as well as about names of other interested candidates for NLIU VC, through reports in local newspapers, they told us.

They therefore objected to being “kept in the dark” about the entire process of selection of their new VC, until it was too late.

Singh’s appointment

Singh was to be reportedly appointed as successor to former NLIU director Prof SS Singh, simultaneously with the appointment of NLU Jabalpur’s first director.

While Jabalpur got former RMLNLU Lucknow vice chancellor Balraj Chauhan as director two days ago, as we reported yesterday, NLIU has not yet announced Singh’s appointment.

The Madhya Pradesh high court had nominated Singh, out of three recommendations submitted by the search committee comprising Chauhan, NLU Delhi vice chancellor Prof Ranbir Singh and Madhya Pradesh high court judge Justice RS Jha. The search committee’s other two recommendations were NLSIU Bangalore’s Prof V Vijaykumar and Ambedkar University Lucknow’s Prof SK Bhatnagar.

On 8 May students wrote to Madhya Pradesh high court Chief Justice Hemant Gupta stating:

We wish to bring your Lordship’s attention to the fact that far more qualified candidates were overlooked to nominate Prof. Bhanu Pratap Singh among the Top-3 who were finally recommended.

The respectable candidate has an API [Academic Performance Index] score of 10, while the others contesting for the post have API scores ranging from 1000-2700.

He has no such credentials or academic qualifications that make him an exceptional choice to bypass other far more qualified candidates for the post.

There has been no justification or proof regarding the qualifications or achievements of accepting the application of the said candidate.

Singh has told us that those API scores were outdated and not complete (see below).

Proof of academics

A student at NLIU pointed us to the break-up of Singh’s API scores per individual scores in various areas of academic capability, as found in a list published by RMLNLU Lucknow of candidates who had applied to the post of its vice chancellor last year. This document was available on RMLNLU’s website until April this year, the student said.

According to the document, Singh had a score of “0” in the following areas: research papers authored, books authored, projects submitted, awards or fellowships received and PhD students guided.

Singh had a score of “10” in only one area - the number of conferences or seminars attended. Based on this he obtained a total score, or API score of 10. His was the only double digit score in the list of 15 candidates, two others had triple digit scores whereas all the others had scores above 1000, the maximum being 2600.

However, Singh told us that the list published by RMLNLU was not the final list used but was published only for inviting the candidates’ objections.

He had submitted his objection that he had supervised 8 PhDs, and not “0” as stated in the document, he told us, and named four research scholars whose PhDs he supervised and who have been placed in various universities.

Administrative expectation

At NLIU students had undertaken wide scale protests for a rinse of its administration. Its former director Prof SS Singh had to resign abruptly due to student protests over administrative opacity and arbitrariness.

They stated in the letter:

There has been a sheer lack of transparency in this whole process of appointment of Director, which has been going on for almost six months now. Considering the fact that this situation arose amidst such circumstances that questioned the very legitimacy of the system, it should have been ensured that crucial information is not withheld from the student body. What must be noted is that it is a practice across National Law Universities to ensure transparency in the process, with a public declaration of a list of applicants, the ones shortlisted and declaration of their Academic Performance Indices (API scores). Unfortunately, none of this happened in our case. The student body has been kept in the dark about this whole process, of which it is the most important stakeholder.

Due to the recent blow to NLIU over fake degrees having been issued, as well as the peculiar administrative problems arising at successive NLUs, students also wrote that they were concerned about Singh as a choice, because he lacked an impressive track record, unlike some of the other candidates who had applied.

Students also claimed, which Singh squarely denied, that he had an ongoing criminal case against him since 2013 in the Allahabad high court before justice MK Gupta.

Singh today in a phone call strongly denied ever having had a civil or a criminal case against him or even an FIR having ever been lodged against him.

The other applicants who the students learned were not selected for various reasons, but whom students appeared to prefer:

  • Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer (IDIA founding trustee, former NUJS Kolkata IP chair professor, award winning academic)
  • Prof. (Dr.) Srikrishna Deva Rao (Vice Chancellor, NLU Orissa)
  • Prof. (Dr.) Paramjit S. Jaswal (Vice Chancellor, RGNUL Patiala)
  • Prof. S.C. Raina (Vice Chancellor, HPNLU Shimla)

Singh contested the students’ opinion, and commented: “I belong to a traditional university - the University of Allahabad which is a central university. As compared to this university and many other traditional universities, national law universities are only baby institutions.

“They have existed since the 90s. Any senior-most teachers of these universities have only approximately 20 years of experience. So a person with 20, I do not know if any such person has been appointed VC of any NLU.”

He added: “In this regard I have to say that in Allahabad University in 2005 I was given the responsibility by the vice chancellor to introduce 5-year integrated LLB in faculty of law.

“I introduced the course and it successfully ran from the next academic year until 2006-2007. I have been coordinator of this course for 10 years and the status of the course is much more huge, our students have won several moot court competitions where NLUs have been participating.”

General unrest in the NLU universe as proof of demanding better

This is also, notably, during a year when NUJS Kolkata students protested and got rid of its vice chancellor Prof Ishwara Bhat for inefficiency and mismanagement, CNLU Patna students fought tooth and nail Bhat’s appointment as CNLU’s VC and didn’t let it go through, and NUSRL Ranchi students through months of protests managed to win a replacement for allegedly under-performing VC Prof BC Nirmal, among other student protests against bad administration.

Also, at NUJS students had once managed to convince the administration to remove the registrar, after corruption charges were proved against him.

NLIU students therefore wrote in their letter to the Chief Justice:

Students are of the unanimous view, that in this time, where the reputation of the university is at stake due to reports of the Degree Scam (perpetrated during the tenure of Prof. S.S. Singh and the full scope of which is only now becoming clear) and when the University has fallen in ranking in comparison to other National Law Schools due to the academic stagnation and maladministration, it is essential that a good leader is brought to this post, who can restore NLIU’s former glory.

The need of the hour is to bring someone who not only understands the culture of NLUs (as distinct from other traditional law universities) and but also the aspirations and needs of the student community, someone who has the capability to bring us out of this stagnation that NLIU has been facing for the past 10 years and who can take charge of the administration. We need a visionary, someone who can take us forward and herald our university into an age where we can begin competing with the other law schools, in India and abroad.

Click to show 47 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.