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Article Detail

Article Detail

Prof. (Dr.) Pritam Baruah,
Dean, BMU School of Law

A. Please introduce yourself and your law school to our readers.

Our school was founded to offer quality legal education of the highest standards relevant for the future. We aim to cultivate ethical, scientifically minded, and constitutionally rooted lawyers with highly employable skills. Our faculty has excellent national and international experience, andour green campus has state-of-the art infrastructure for classrooms, moot courts, sports, hostels, and high-quality food outlets. We are also interdisciplinary in every relevant aspect: curriculum, research, architecture, and career paths.

I am a legal theorist interested in how we can develop shared values in a plural world. Growing up in ethnically divided north-east India I saw how law and politics mixed both nobly and nefariously. I pursued this interest through law in NALSAR, Oxford, and University College London. Courses I have delivered at NUJS, NLSIU, Jindal Global Law School, and in Canada, United Kingdom, and China, have also explored this interest.I also practiced at the Supreme Court of India and have worked for commissions instituted by the Court. I believe in the power of scientific inquiry increating a better and sustainable life for all on our planet.

 

B. Being a young leader yourself and having a prior experience in Institution Building, what is your vision for School of Law at BML Munjal University?

The vision of our team is to build a law school known for quality in every aspect. We aspire to be thought leaders internationally and create young leaders for a sustainable future for our planet. BMU offers students space to think freely with responsibility: explore the world of law with curiosity and through an interdisciplinary lens; choose career paths with institutional support and create novel futures for themselves. To make this possible, we have some of the best international intellectuals and legal practitioners on our advisory boards. Our chosen strategy is to work closely with students and faculty to be sensitive to the distinctiveness of each individual.

 

C. Having keen interests in legal philosophy, constitutional theory and practice of democracy, how do you plan to implement this learning at your law school?

It is not surprising that every leading law school in the world also houses the best legal philosophers and constitutional theorists. These areas reveal deeper understanding of the present on the one hand and imagine the boundaries of the future of law on the other. At BMU we are setting up a centre focussed on constitutional studies to focus on fundamental research in law, and advocacy of constitutional values. Our research is interdisciplinary, and our advocacy is hands on through student-led legal aid clinics. We have an MOU with NLU Delhi where we aim to bring in their immense clinical expertise to our students. We also offer advance courses in constitutional law in an interdisciplinary way along with an excellent PhD programme.

 

D. In your earlier discussions you’ve emphasized on the need of having a well-established Centre for Technology Law. Please throw some light on this.

We have already launched the Centre on Law Regulation and Technology (CLRT). The centre advocates legal and economic regulation that places consumer welfare and innovation at the core of the modern economy. CLRT is a platform that nurtures ideas by bringing together regulators, academia, industry, policymakers, and civil society. Through its inter-disciplinary research work, the Centre aims to periodically contribute to policy discourse through reports, expert analysis, and research papers. In its inaugural conference we had leading law practitioners as well as Indian and international academics debating live issues about e-commerce platforms. We see CLRT growing meaningfully with active student participation in its activities

 

E. You have a diverse experience in the legal profession, one such being your contribution towards two Supreme Court of India Commissions. Can you share your experience?

As a young lawyer practicing in the Supreme Court, I was appointed as a member of the legal team to the Central Vigilance Commission on the Public Distribution System. It was an excellent opportunity to contribute to policymaking by working closely with great legal minds such as Justice D. P. Wadhwa and a team of young lawyers who are today leading members of the bar. I saw the immense scale of our regulatory mechanisms, and our astoundingly complex socio-economic context. We recommended several policy changes based on transparency, use of technology, and interests of intended beneficiaries. As a young academic I also co-authored a study for the Justice M. M. Poonchi Commission on Centre-State Relations. It was an opportunity to work closely with Prof. M. P. Singh, the then Vice Chancellor of WBNUJS, and a constitutional law stalwart. We drafted a report on the legal and jurisprudential aspects of federalism that drew upon Indian and comparative experiences. I encourage all young lawyers to involve themselves in some public work and participate proactively in matters related to the state as we must take ownership of our public institutions.

 

F. As an academic, your motto is ‘Cultivating ethical leaders for the future’. How do you plan to foster this principle into reality?

We instil leadership qualities in our students by equipping them with practical skills, intellectual confidence, and humility built through knowledge. Leaders must have the ability to meet the deepest anxieties of their constituencies and chart out a path with confidence. Leaders must also learn to be legitimate authorities. As Socrates said, someone with authority always thinks about those under their command. Leaders in that sense must be sensitive to those they lead, and more significantly they must be equipped to think about the future and resolve conflicts within. These abilities come from being continuous learners who can act even in uncertain circumstances. This ethos is embedded in each aspect of life at BMU. Our classes are learning oriented, we offer courses on leadership, we have tailored career training programmes, we offer perspective courses beyond individual disciplines, we invite pathbreaking individuals for leaderships talks, and also hold a leadership summit. These initiatives make thinking about leadership an integral part of life at BMU.

 

G. Your law school is as a member of the LSAC Global Law Alliance, how do you envision this collaboration?

This collaboration is invaluable to us. We share core commitments of testing potential and not just information. We accept LSAT—India scores as our preferred entrance exam as it tests attributes and potentials and not just 'cramming' as Bernard Shaw put it. We also value LSAC’s commitment to extending the opportunities of legal education to larger number of students in India. Law is still an underexplored, and often misunderstood life-path for young Indians. BMU is particularly committed to expanding the horizons of students from every corner of the country. For example, we recently had a symposium for students from the remote Dima Hsao district of Assam that has a diverse young demography. We want to make young Indians everywhere aware of the opportunities in legal education. We aim to collaborate with LSAC Global on joint initiatives to take legal education to those who have not had access to it. The promise of LSAC Global to build meaningful relationships between Indian law schools andthose abroad is also avision we share.

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