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NLU Shimla’s new VC from DU reveals how he hopes to build a destination for education and more

India's newest NLU vice chancellor, Subash Chander Raina, has big plans
India's newest NLU vice chancellor, Subash Chander Raina, has big plans

Prof Subash Chander Raina, who was part of Delhi University (DU) law faculty and its dean and former professor-in-charge of DU’s Campus Law Centre (CLC), has been appointed as vice chancellor (VC) of NLU Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, which will open gates on 1 October after having begun taking admissions this month.

Raina told Legally India on Friday (16 September) that he had joined Himachal Pradesh’s national law university on 5 September. Since opening up admissions for 60 seats (of which 25 per cent will be a local state reservation), as we reported on 13 September, around 250 candidates had applied with their Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) and other competitive exam scores. The application deadline was yesterday (20 September).

The new VC said that NLU Shimla was primarily the brainchild of the judiciary, with the Himachal Pradesh high court being its chief justice.

“The judiciary pushes it the most, the government became an instrument,” he joked, noting that the government only had several officials ex-officio involved in the governing council.

Budgets & infrastructure

In terms of the budget allocated to the NLU, he said that news reports of the government making Rs 400 crores available was a misnomer, since the majority of that would be going to the Himachal Pradesh Judicial Academy (HPJA) nearby.

“400 crores is not for us. We have been given Rs 20 crores total and a big chunk of land,” said Raina. “With that money we have to construct the infrastructure.”

When asked whether he was happy with the amount, he responded “I am satisfied always”, quipping that the university could always “beg and borrow” funds. “And after three years we are eligible for (University Grants Commission) UGC funds also, and may have some philanthropic (contributions)”.

Currently, students would be housed and classes would be held on the premises of the next-door Himachal Pradesh Judicial academy which had a “huge building” including around 25 rooms for students. “Which means that 50-55 can be accommodated, and some (students) will be locals, so no problem,” he said.

Raina added that if construction of the new NLU campus proceeded according to plan, “hopefully, in a period of one year, I'll be having three blocks of hostel, and one administrative block”.

Intake & faculty

Raina predicted from applications received as of Friday, that the first intake would consist of CLAT scores between 121 and 131 marks.

Editor’s note: I haven’t been able to find the cut-off marks of other national law schools in this year’s CLAT – does anyone remember these? The CLAT results website has begun to be dismantled, unfortunately.

Next year, Raina said, he hoped to increase the undergraduate intake to 120 students.

The fees at NLU Shimla would be around Rs 2 lakhs per year, including accommodation and electricity, said Raina.

Faculty recruitments would take place in the last week of September, he said, and he would look to hire:

  • 3 law teachers.
  • 4 teachers from other subjects, such as sociology, economics, political science and English.
  • 2 research assistants.
  • 2 teacher assistants.

Future plans

Raina said that he wanted to introduce new courses relevant to Himachal Pradesh, such as law relating to forestry and the environment, and tribal law, so students “can get an employment within the state”.

He added that NLU Shimla had four main things going for it right now.

“Parents love to send their kids to Himachal Pradesh: it’s a passive state, there’s 0 rate of crime.

“Second, it’s a wonderful temperature – the weather is so good, there’s no heat and no dust. It is an environment friendly state.

“Third is that the expenses of the students are very low.”

Fourth, he said the states surrounding Himachal Pradesh would provide very useful opportunities for students and instruction.

CLAT or not to CLAT?

On whether NLU Shimla would join the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) next year, Raina said that just joining for the sake of it might not give NLU Shimla any benefit necessarily and only result in lowest of CLAT rankers applying.

“I think I should consider another test of my own to  attract talent of my own,” he added, noting that he had conducted this year’s Delhi University admission test for more than 24,000 students.

Photo by Bjorn Christian Torissen

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