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NLS Bangalore advertises for new VC: 10 year service excludes most NLS alums, Venkata Rao ineligible for extension

Domestic VCs most likely to apply under new criteria...

Advertisement for new VC ends speculation about Rao extension
Advertisement for new VC ends speculation about Rao extension

Two months after we had first reported about the formation of the search committee to find a new NLSIU Bangalore vice chancellor (VC), it has now published its call for applications for the much sought-after role.

The deadline for applications to the committee (of former NUJS Kolkata VC Prof MP Singh, attorney general KK Venugopal, and senior advocate Arvind Datar) is 22 April 2019, and it includes several clarifications that will lay to rest speculation about Prof Venkata Rao’s successor.

For one, the notification requires candidates to be below an age limit of 60 years. This would have disqualify Rao from seeking a third term amidst rumours that the formal VC retirement age could be extended from 65 to 70 years.

We have reached out to Rao for comment.

Furthermore, despite some initial hope amongst alumni that the standard 10-year professorship requirement could be relaxed, which would allow some younger national law university (NLU) graduates a shot at the post, the notification explicitly states that candidates must have: “an outstanding academic record with a doctorate in law and a minimum of 10 years experience as a Professor of Law in a recognised University. Experience with a reputed research and/or academic administrative organisation will bean added qualification”.

There are few NLU alums teaching in India who could meet this requirement, besides potentially NLSIU alum, ex-NLSIU assistant professor and ex-NUJS Kolkata prof, Sudhir Krishnawamy, who is currently professor of law at Azim Premji University.

There could be other potentially eligible NLU grads working in academia abroad, though some, such NUS Singapore’s well-known Umakanth Varottil, might not even clear the 10-year hurdle (according to his Linked-in profile, after leaving Amarchand Mangaldas’ partnership in 2006, Varottil has been associate professor at NUS for only nine years, since 2010).

On top of that, the question looms of how many academics from overseas would volunteer returning to the comparative academic and research wasteland of India (with all due respect), not to mention the bureaucracy and political hobnobbing that is part and parcel of any NLU VC-ship.

The final nail in the coffin of alumni’s possible hope for an academic to move from overseas is that emigree academics might currently be earning multiple times the advertised Rs 30-odd lakh annual package for the next NLSIU VC (even if taking into account the cost of living and free housing in Nagarbhavi).

But who knows, what else would one take a pay- and lifestyle cut for, if not for one’s alma mater?

That said, considering the requirements, the largest pool of applicants will no doubt come from amongst VCs of other Indian law schools.

Unfortunately, this will only put further pressure on the many other NLUs without VCs currently desperately seeking successors.

Details for the role, from the notification on the NLS website are:

The Vice-Chancellor being the academic as well as the administrative head, is expected to be:

  • A visionary with proven leadership qualities, administrative capabilities as well as teaching experience and impeccable research credentials;
  • Having an outstanding academic record with a doctorate in law and a minimum of 10 years experience as a Professor of Law in a recognised University. Experience with a reputed research and/or academic administrative organisation will be an added qualification;
  • Should not have completed sixty (60 years) years as on the date of advertisement; and
  • Applicants will be required to attend an interview at New Delhi at their expense.

Salary and Service Conditions

  • The post of Vice-chancellor carries a basic pay of Rs. 2,10,000/-, DA of Rs. 25,200/-, TA of Rs. 8064 and a Special Allowance of Rs. 5000/-;
  • The tenure of the Vice Chancellor shall be for a period of five years or completion of sixty-five years of age, whichever is earlier;
  • The Vice-chancellor will be expected to stay at the residential accommodation at the NLSIU Campus and no House Rent allowance will be paid in lieu thereof.<

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