Prof. (Dr) Paramjit Singh Jaswal (Interview)

Prof. (Dr) Paramjit Singh Jaswal (Interview)

Interview By: 

Ashit Kumar Srivastava (Associate Director – Research & Publication)


Prof.(Dr.) Paramjit Singh Jaswal
Vice Chancellor – Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala
B.Sc | B.L (Gold Medalist), LL.B| L.L.M (Gold Medalist)| Ph.D| PDF (London) 

About Interviewee 

Professor (Dr.) Paramjit Singh Jaswal is a legal scholar of distinct personality, with a teaching experience spanning over three decades. He surely has a grip over every aspect of law. Currently serving as a Vice- Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law; among other achievements, Dr. Jaswal book on environmental law is regarded as an authority, both, nationally and internationally with Supreme Court has quoted his book thrice in their judgments. He also has been conferred with Honorary Rank of Colonel by the National Cadet Corps in March 2014 and has also been bestowed with Bharat Jyoti Award in 2006, as if now he has published more than 60 research papers and contributed several chapters in several books. In 1994 he was awarded by the UGC as the Young Talented Teachers.  Not only academically but also administratively Dr. Jaswal’s career expands over thirty years from being a Director at Punjab University to being a Vice Chancellor at HNLU, Dr. Jaswal career has been an escalating journey. 
His Curriculum Vitae can easily fill an entire chapter of a book, we at Pro Bono India are more than obliged that such a legal scholar has spared his valuable time for our initiative.   
Ashit:   Sir, what is the importance of study of Socio-Legal issues in legal field?
Dr. Jaswal:  The law does not operate in vacuum, the law always operates in a social medium so unless we understand and we study the problem of the society, we cannot cull out the social-legal issues and accordingly the importance of law is directly related to the socio-legal issues. Law actually helps in regulating the human conduct or the behavior and when we talk about human behavior that deals with the society and all problems relating to society are directly or indirectly are the outcome of human behavior.

Ashit: Sir, RGNUL has its own RGNUL LEGAL AID CLINICS, Sir tell us something  about the legal initiative taken by them?
Dr. Jaswal: We are doing a wonderful job, we have adopted two adjoining villages, we are helping the villagers legally, spreading legal awareness, we are helping them in making their Aadhar Card, and we are not only providing litigate (ive) legal aid but also the preventive legal aid to them our doors are always open for them, so if they have any legal problems they can easily access us. 
Ashit : Sir, is this an initiative taken by the Students itself or the faculty helps in?
Dr. Jaswal : Students and Faculty, there is a Legal Aid Committee, student members are there, we also have Para-legal volunteers, our Para-legal volunteer have also participated in the Lok Adalats organized by the State Legal Service Authority, fortunately, the Punjab Legal Service Authority has been very active and has been organizing the Lok Adalats.
Ashit :  Sir, You being from Punjab itself, what role do you think higher Judiciary has played in Legal Aid and Awareness in Punjab? 
Dr. Jaswal : I don’t know whether you are aware or not, it was an initiative of the Punjab Higher Judiciary, the High Court in particular, about two and a half years ago, that law in its in simplistic sense was made a compulsory subject in the schools like we talk about dowry problem, we talk about bonded labor, we talk about honor killings, we talk about sex determination. All these laws, and you will be glad to know that some Faculty members and with the help of some students of our University we prepared booklets and study material and translated them in to Punjabi language and that material is used by legal aid cells and authorities to help spread awareness and teach students in the schools, so now it is mandatory in Punjab to teach basic laws in the schools in simple sense. We don’t go by section, we simply tell what is dowry and what amounts to dowry, the basic aim is to make them aware about and this is how we teach about other social evils.

Ashit : Sir, What Role Government has played in the legal aid and Awareness?
Dr. Jaswal: Well, the government has assisted the judiciary in the implementation of the program, the Judiciary is not the implementing machinery, the Government is the implementing machinery and I would like to compliment the Government that it has done an excellent job as it has implemented whatever has been suggested by the Judiciary in Consultation with the National legal Service Authorities and Government has never contested it. 

Ashit : What about the Legal Aid and Awareness at the National Level?
Dr. Jaswal: I am actually the member of NLSA (National Legal Services Authority) and we are framing different module, one of the module is in front of me right now which has been framed by my Learned Sister Manju Goel (Former Judge of the High Court) and this is for the training of the Para-legal volunteers on the rights of the Senior Citizens. So, this way we are preparing different modules and we are imparting training to different components of the society the lawyers, the students, the citizens depending on the crust of the module and trying to provide is legal awareness. 
One of the most important outcome of NLSA effort under the leadership of our former Chief Justice T.S Thakur has been that a song has been prepared, which is actually under the production of fame director Prakash Jha, so if you log on to youtube, you can access it under the title ‘Ek Muthi Asama, Ispe Haq Hamara Bhi Hai’ ( and it has been shown how law is trying to reach the ‘have not’ of the society. 

Ashit : What are your views on effectiveness of Legal Service Authority Act, 1987?
Dr. Jaswal : Yes, it is very effective, in fact we had a meeting last week, which I could not attend but we have an all India meet now in coming week, which I am come going to attend and we are also suggesting certain amendments in the act, where we found there are certain deficiency in the act. But overall, I think a very good beginning has been made by the act by creating Lok Adalats and other authorities;  many matrimonial disputes, insurance claims and many consumers claims has been settled by the legal aid cells; So it’s a good start.          

Ashit : Sir, What are your views on present situation of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in India?
Dr. Jaswal : Well, PIL has done a wonderful job in India, it started with the prison jurisprudence in the late 70’s then travelled to the environmental jurisprudence in 80’s, there has been many cases where PIL has been abused and there are instance where there has been Judicial Over-activism, but lately it has not been abused or Judicial over-activism. I think it is fairly used as a weapon to combat different offences.

Ashit : Sir, what is your advice to the future lawyers/professors/scholars with regards to socio-legal issues, legal aid and awareness initiatives? 
Dr. Jaswal : Well, I would say any budding lawyer first of all he should not study the law, he should study the sociology, he should study the social problem, he should practically get involved with the field work, understand what is the root cause of the problem and then see whether there are law through which we can change the behavior of the human being to put an break on offences that are committed and if there some new law required then the scholar should write about it like we wrote back that there should be law look after senior citizen and now there is a law. I can quote a legal scholar Professor Upendar Baxi, Rohtika Sarkar, they were the one in  1980’s they filed the PIL for the pity conditions of the women prisoners and Sheila Bharse’s another journalist and Parmanad Katara Case. So through the PIL and the social concern of the legal scholars, lawyers, academicians they have provided impetus in the growth of the law. 

Ashit : Sir, What is your message to Pro Bono India? 
Dr. Jaswal : Well, keep up the good work and keep spreading legal awareness among the masses with regard to human rights, the civilization of any country is known by the respect it shows to the protection of human rights.