Interview: Prof. Dr. V. K. Kapoor, Vice Chancellor, Raffles University

 

Interviewer: Surendra Kumar, Campus Ambassador, LexQuest.

  • How long have you been in this profession?

In the year 1975, I  completed my Law and started practice with D.D. Thakur.He  motivated me to join academics. I still remember once he told  me that “You are made for law” and then in the year 1977 after 2 years of practice I  started teaching in Jammu University. It has been 40 years since I have been in this profession.

  • Recently in Rishabh Duggal & Anr. V. The Bar Council of India & Anr. the apex court said that there will be no age limit for LLB examination this academic year, as the Supreme Court has stayed Bar Council of India’s (BCI) notification fixing age limit for law courses. Sir, what are your views on fixing an age limit for studying law?

I have seen many retired judges, law officers, and bureaucrats who join law after their retirement. As a teacher, I have taught many such students and more than 140 or 150 students who are more than 40 years of age are doing an extremely good job for the society.

They are a hidden source of motivation for youngsters. I think there should be no age limit for studying law. According to me, correspondence course should totally stop because it has become a mockery of the legal profession.

  • Sir, do you think law students and legal professionals should take up pro bono work?  What should be their motivation behind the same?

First qualification to become a good legal professional is that he/she should become a good human being and for becoming a good human being the young students must have healthy aptitude to take on all such areas which are of extreme social value and study it and that was the reason for starting clinical legal education, but many institutions are taking it lightly. According to eminent jurist Roscoe Pound “Law is an instrument of social transformation.”

And this transformation will come when law students and professionals both will take pro bono work voluntarily. Even Mahatma Gandhi focused on field study and educationist Dr. S. Radhakrishnan also added field education as the third dimension of education which is necessary. They all put the focus on field education so that a young mind would get in touch with those who are needy and would understand grassroots level’s problems.

  • Recently the honorable SC gave its verdict in the Triple Talaq case. Earlier in 2014 when the NDA govt. came to power with the full majority there were speculations that a Uniform Civil Code Bill will be passed by the legislature but the same has not come into existence yet. Sir, what are your views on Uniform Civil Code?

In a country like India, we have to be very cautious in bringing a Uniform Civil Code. But the ultimate objective should be keeping in view the aspirations which are reflected by the Constitution of India that we must have a civil code.

  • Sir, you have seen both the sides of the table; starting as a law student to a teacher you have done it all. How has the journey been and what are the experiences you would share with our readers?

I consider myself fortunate that my Guru D.D. Thakur gave me the inspiration to do law and extremely satisfied with it. I always followed my principles. But still nobody is perfect and at the age of seventy, I do feel that somewhere I had lost some time by involving in some other pleasures of life and due to that some gaps are there.

I started my practice with D.D. Thakur and I even did practice with his son T.S. Thakur (Former CJI) as an advocate for two years and that was the best experience. After two years of practice, I have joined academics.  D.D. Thakur was my guru and source of inspiration. He was the one who motivated me to join academics.  

  • Sir, what are the opportunities that are open to young law graduates after the five years integrated Law course?

There are many opportunities in various sectors like academics, litigation, corporate sector, banking, cyber law, power sector, judiciary, law officer and much more, various other new opportunities are knocking the door. This is a profession where you have to learn to live like a hermit and once you make it a principle then sky is the limit. Opportunities are everywhere, it depends to what extent you avail them.

This is  one of the top rated professions in India as far as placement and employment is concerned. In my seventy years of age, I have failed to see even a single person with a law degree as unemployed.

  • What is the best and the worst thing about being a Law Professor?

Best – That you are always involved in discussing extremely meaningful and purposeful things with your students.

Worst – Legal Professionals who pursue teaching are not treated as per their worth particularly by the educational organisations dealing with legal education. We should take a lesson from European countries.

  • Currently, corporate sector seems to be very lucrative for law students specially those who are pursuing five years integrated law course. Sir, what was your motivation behind entering this field?

Satisfaction, peace and opportunity to work for the society and to be with the young minds. The students are my assets.

  • What do you know now that you wished you knew when you were my age?

Today youth is well informed about the entire world, this exposure is multidimensional and tremendous. The only thing they have to adopt is how to make the best possible use of this multidimensional exposure. But in my age we could never have imagined and we were deprived of this type of exposure so I wish I had such type of multidimensional exposure.

  • Sir, any message for our young readers?

I just want to say one thing that just make one positive effort which is not difficult that they should become law-abiding citizens with enlightened civic sense. That can change the country.  I wish you all the best.