Interview with Dr. Manvendra Singh, Assistant Professor of Law & Faculty Incharge Legal Aid Clinic, Sharda University, Greater Noida

Interview with Dr. Manvendra Singh, Assistant Professor of Law & Faculty Incharge Legal Aid Clinic, Sharda University, Greater Noida

1.Tell me about yourself in brief.
Hello Team ProBono India,
I am Dr. Manvendra Singh an academician by profession. I have teaching and research experience of eight years. I have completed my graduation, post-graduation and Ph.D. from Aligarh Muslim University. I have completed my PhD as well as LL.M under the supervision of Prof. Zaheeruddin, Chairman Faculty of Law & Pro Vice-Chancellor, Aligarh Muslim University. Presently I am working at Sharda University, Greater Noida as Assistant Professor of Law and Legal Aid In charge. My areas of specializations are Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Human Rights and Environmental Law. 

2.What is the importance of study of Socio Legal issues in legal field?
In my opinion, the most relevant interdisciplinary legal field is socio-legal study especially in our Country. Meeting the needs of the society, bringing justice to society and understanding the changing dynamics of the society is the most important purpose and in fact goal of Law. Pt. Nehru has time and again said in constituent assembly debates and on the occasion of First amendment also, that Law has to change with the changing dynamics of the society. We, as a human being has an unsaid yet major responsibility which we need to realise and understand towards Society. And by studying how law can be used and used by people or organs in shaping various aspect of society, in adjudicating various aspect of human life is used is truly important. Be it in forms of acknowledging the basic rights or safeguarding the requirements of environment, Socio-legal study plays an important role. And with the extraordinary jurisdiction of court in form of PIL, these aspects have the potential of making the world a better place to live.

3.Tell me about your initiatives in legal aid & awareness field as a law student and now as professor.
I personally have always been fascinated and attached with the role of Legal Aid in the life of every needy person. I feel this is the only organ through which we can genuinely help the section of the society which needs our help the most. It gives an opportunity to provide your services where it is needed the most, to uplift the one who are oppressed the most.  During my student years, I have always looked forward to the activities related to legal aid, be it visit to villages or performance of nukkad natak in slums to educate the people of their basic rights.
Being in charge of the Legal Aid Society, School of Law, Sharda University. I always try to involve a large number of students and arrange as many drives as possible to touch the lives of people who are neglected the most. And it also gives exposure to the young student and makes them responsible towards society.
For every society or Club, Students are pillars without them we can’t plan or execute, we are so lucky that our Para Legal Volunteers are proactive, they find out, plan, discuss and execute accordingly.

4.Tell me your students\' initiatives in legal aid, awareness, socio-legal issues.
The power what the knowledge of law gives to an ordinary citizen always fascinated me and the interest grew along with time. I have been associated with the Legal Aid Society from my university days as it helped to spread awareness about the basic fundamental rights to the poor, neglected section of the society and even today as a teacher, I continue to associate myself with such society because awareness is must to prevent harassment and wake up others and this is what really inspired me. In Legal Aid Society, We try to arrange various drives and projects. Currently We have been involved in various projects like Online Awareness Drive during COVID 19, Project Prison Reforms and Mission Article 39-A.
This Interview is half picture if I am not mentioning the name of Dean, School of Law, Sharda University Prof. Pradeep Kulshrestha Sir who always motivates, support and stand with us on every move of the Legal Aid Society. Respected Sir always quotes of Shreemad Bhagavad Gaeta:
       karmany evadhikaras te
       ma phalesu kadacana 
       ma karma-phala-hetur bhur
       ma re sango\'stv akarmani
The exact English translation of the shloka is, "You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty."
Respected Sir religiously motivates to Para Legal Volunteers and appeal them be a Good Citizen than you realize the conscience of Our Constitution and Constitutional Principles. 

5. What is the role of higher judiciary in legal aid & awareness in India?
Judiciary plays a very pivotal responsibility in enhancing legal aid and its awareness. And we can see this role have indeed being very well played by the judiciary. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has time and again reiterated that Article 39-A provides for a holistic approach in imparting justice to a litigating party. It not only includes providing free legal aid via appointment of counsel for litigants, but also includes ensuring that justice is not denied due to financial difficulties and in fact, delivered expeditiously on the basis of equal opportunity to litigating parties. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has also emphasized that legal assistance to poor or indigent accused who is arrested and put to jeopardy of his life or personal liberty is a constitutional imperative mandate not only by Art. 39-A but also by Articles 14, 19 and 21. In absence of legal assistance, injustice may result, and every such act corrodes the foundation of our Democracy. 

6. What is the role of Government in legal aid & awareness in India?
It is the government which has an underlining role in legal aid and awareness. As we all know that Art. 39-A specifically puts a directive on the state to provide free legal aid. It ordains the state to secure legal system which promotes justice on the basis of equal opportunity. The language of the article is couched in mandatory terms therefore; the role of government indisputably becomes major. Establishment of Lok Adalats was a defining step to achieve the objectives of Art 39-A. Further, The Law ministry in view of this has launched initiatives like pro-bono legal services, Tele-law service, Nyay Mitra scheme to achieve this objective. So, Yes the Government is creating a huge impact in meeting the goal of the Constitution and achieving the objective of the Constitution. 

7. What are your views on present situation of legal aid and awareness initiatives in India?
The state is playing its role in creating legal awareness and legal aid. But, I believe it is the responsibility of the privileged, to reach out to each and every person is vulnerable, who is not aware and has not got the opportunity as other. And I believe the person associated with legal field shares this responsivity a lot more than others. Therefore, in my humble opinion, until and unless each person realises this, the work and objective of legal aid and awareness will remain incomplete.  

8. What are your views on effectiveness of Legal Service Authority Act, 1987?
Legal Service Authority Act, 1987, is an Act to further provision of free and competent legal services to economically weaker section of the society by ensuring justice and equality. It further paves way for establishment of Lok Adalats to secure the operation of legal system. It makes sure that people are aware of their rights. It in true sense is a step to ensure social legal justice and equality in the society. Recently, The Chief Justice of India, NV Ramana, was speaking at an event "Legal Services Day" organized by National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) at Sharda University during which he said that the legal profession is not about profit maximization but about service to society.
CJI Ramana said that the students\' decision to join the legal aid movement will pave the way for a great career and help them inculcate empathy and develop a sense of selflessness. He suggested that the law students, judges, ministers should come together to ensure that the most vulnerable sections of society are given legal aid and services. The law minister also said that only fundamental rights alone don\'t make a country great but it will become great if people also understand their constitutional duties.
The best part is Our Para Legal Volunteers are committed to participate, promote and plan the activities that lead to social, economic and political justice to needy one they are the real stakeholder of Legal Aid Society, Sharda University.

9. What are your views on present situation of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in India?
PIL is a very vital tool especially in India. It gives an opportunity to an individual to directly appeal to Higher Judiciary for exercise his rights or to undo any wrong which has been done. However, today as we all have observed various frivolous matters just to seek attention are being filed which frustrates the very objective of this extra-ordinary provision. PIL gives an opportunity to anyone, not even associated/affected by the act to claim relief for the public at large and bring good to society.  

10. What advise you would like to give to the future Advocates/Professors/Scholars with regards to socio-legal issues, legal aid and awareness initiatives?
At the cost of repetition, I would again like to humbly urge to the readers especially people associated with law to come forward, look around in your surrounding and make use of these tools. We are a developing Country and each and every one of us shares a responsibility to uplift this country and this can only be achieved if there is equality in every form in the society. Then only true justice can be delivered and dreams of our Freedom Fighter for which they struggled so much can be achieved.

11. Message to ProBono India.
ProBono India has definitely proved an effective organisation in not only furthering but also ensuring the objective of socio-legal justice India. It is true sense is promoting activism with respect to legal rights of an individual and for this, the organisation should be applauded. It in true sense is benefitting the public ta large. I would like to place my congratulation to the whole team and best wishes for future endeavours. I appreciate the hard work, dedication of Prof. Kalpesh Kumar L Gupta Sir and his team for supporting and promoting the legal aid activities, Compiling case laws on Legal Aid Subject that is very useful piece of information.

For Any Query Write Us:
Legal Aid Society, School of Law, Plot No.32-34, 
Knowledge Park III, Sharda University, Greater Noida, Pincode-201306, 
Helpline No.-8800933447